Despite "conserve" being the root word of "conservative", Republicans have decided that conserving natural resources is a liberal ideal and are therefore against it. They claim there is a "liberal agenda", and that "we" want to take away Americans' right to drive gas guzzling cars and dump millions of tons of CO2 into the air. If them thar socialist countries in Europe are trying to cut down on emissions, then - by God - doing so here would be anti-American, to hear them tell it.
So they claim our desire to change the status quo is really just to force an ideology on all Americans. But what is their
motivation for maintaining the status quo? They hide behind vague claims of "freedom" and "America" and probably apple pie and Chevrolet. The real reason, of course, is much simpler than that:
Oil companies make a LOT of money. They make record profits every year, while still enjoying subsidies
(or if you prefer - tax breaks for practically everything). They'd like to keep it that way. Republicans like the largesse they receive in campaign donations and other support from oil companies and their lobbyists. So oil companies run ads about how they're "researching" cleaner fuels, and Republican politicians scream about how energy prices will go up if the Democrats get their way. They say solar and wind is "too expensive", and low-information voters look at the dust and cobwebs in their wallets and decide that they'd rather believe global warming is a hoax (or at least inevitable).
It is a classic case of being penny-wise and pound-foolish.
I wrote a couple weeks ago
about the severe weather we've been having and how it was predicted by climate scientists as a result of climate change. The climate change is a result of global warming. I wrote about the record-breaking heat waves, and the wildfires out west and the drought and rising sea levels on the coasts.
These changes all result in increased costs for us as consumers. We pay higher electric bills because we're running the A/C more and longer (or we're experiencing a decreased standard of living, suffering with the heat and/or not doing what we'd like). With more and more weather-related disasters, there's the cost of emergency response. There's the cost in life, especially the firefighters out west battling epic forest fires. Those living on the coast will see their properties literally disappear into the sea, losing millions in real estate investments.
The drought is already having an effect on our food supply. Crops are failing on a Biblical level across the country. We are on the brink of heading into another dust bowl. Corn prices are shooting through the roof
, which also means that meat prices will rise (since most cattle are "grain fed" on corn). The misguided attempt to make gasoline "cleaner" by adding 10% ethanol made from corn will mean those prices will rise too. "Expensive" energy is an abstract notion, but higher prices at the grocery store is a very visceral reality. We WILL be seeing this over the next 3-12 months.
There are lots of questions that float around the global warming / climate change debate: Is it man-made? Is it avoidable? Is it too late to do anything?
These questions are moot, for the most part. The real question is: Do you want to pay up front to try address the problem, or do you want to pay after the fact to address the results of the problem?
We're going to pay either way. I feel it's best to make the investment now and stem the greenhouse emissions and hope the planet will adjust itself back. Otherwise, we'll be paying for our procrastination for generations to come.