November 20, 2018

If You Want to Save the Planet, Embrace Capitalism

“This month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report concluding that it is all but inevitable that overall global warming will exceed the 1.5 degree Celsius limit dictated in the 2015 Paris Agreement. The report also discusses the potentially catastrophic consequences of this warming, which include extreme weather events, an accelerated rise in sea levels, and shrinking Arctic sea ice.

In keeping with the well-established trend, political conservatives generally have exhibited skepticism of these newly published IPCC conclusions. That includes U.S. President Donald Trump, who told 60 Minutes, “We have scientists that disagree with [anthropogenic global warming]. You’d have to show me the [mainstream] scientists because they have a very big political agenda.” On Fox News, a commentator argued that “the planet has largely stopped warming over the past 15 years, data shows—and [the IPCC report] could not explain why the Mercury had stopped rising.”

This pattern of conservative skepticism on climate change is so well-established that many of us now take it for granted. But given conservatism’s natural impulse toward protecting our heritage, one might think that conservatives would be just as concerned with preserving order in the natural environment as they are with preserving order in our social and political environments. Ensuring that subsequent generations can live well is ordinarily a core concern for conservatives.”

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