An Invitation To Conservatives



This article is about finding a common ground between the political left and right on the issue of climate change. Talking to my conservative friends, they are apprehensive when it comes to governments that look to impose rules and restrictions on personal freedoms and businesses. I think we all agree nobody wants unnecessary, ineffective or counterproductive rules placed upon people and business.

When it comes to the issues concerning the climate and environment, I have heard many conservatives echoing the same concerns; that warnings from “alarmist” environmentalists could lead governments to “overreact” and make quick “knee-jerk” decisions, concentrating more government power over free people.

Again, I think we can all agree that no one wants measures implemented based on sudden reaction. All government action should be based on proper study, planning and debate, as to the best course of action. In the past, our most effective laws have been debated upon by both parties, which resulted in policies that benefited the majority of Americans.

And now we need to focus our attention on a slew of recent events occurring around the world and in the U.S., that have forced governments to impose emergency controls.

Sao Paulo protest

Water rationing protest: Sao Paulo, Brazil

The first event that comes to mind is unfolding in southern Brazil, which has one of the world’s largest fresh water supplies. São Paulo, one of the world’s largest cities is currently under government mandated water rationing, along with numerous other cities throughout the country. Many people in these places are only receiving 2 days of water a week. The rest of the time, the Brazilian government is having the taps shut off. This has been going on for several months now due to extreme drought and historically low reservoir levels.

Paris SmogNext is the story in Paris, France. A horrible cloud of smog has engulfed the city where you couldn’t see the Eiffel Tower. Particulate matter in the air has risen well above levels that are considered safe. This forced the French government to restrict driving in the city. Cars with odd license plate numbers could only drive on odd days and cars with even numbers on even days.
Also occurring at this moment is the worsening drought conditions in California. After 3 years of drought, the snowpack in the Sierra-Nevada Mountains, which normally supply the state of California with almost 50% of their fresh water, is practically nonexistent this year. This has prompted the state government to issue the first ever MANDITORY water restrictions on people and businesses. Not only is California home to about 50 million people, it is the largest state economy in the U.S. Further more, California is the largest single exporter of agricultural produce for the country and the world. This is almost a guarantee that all of our food prices are about to spike.

Folsom Lake Reservoir, CA 2011 and 2014

There are hundreds of other stories like this around the world but the last one that I’d like to mention concerns Miami, Florida. While there hasn’t been any large-scale emergencies, the fact that certain areas of Miami have just recently begun to flood on a regular basis, should have people worried. Frequent street floods during high tide have become the new normal. This begs the question, “what will happen to Miami when the next hurricane Sandy hits?” And the question is not IF, but WHEN? What will happen to the city? What sudden reactive measures will local governments be forced to take?

These are events that are unfolding right before our very eyes. Over the past few decades science has been warning us of these worsening droughts and floods. It is hard to deny that these unprecedented stories all have a common cause: Climate change perpetuated by the burning of fossil fuels.

Instead of continuing to deny the science and facts, we invite conservatives to join the discussion, to help plan the best strategy that will benefit everyone. We need Republicans and Democrats working together. If we are to effectively tackle the problems related to climate change, we need everyone’s ideas, input and participation to come up with the best solutions for everyone.

But, if we continue down a path of denial and political obstruction, we will be left with an increasing number of emergencies, where governments will have no choice but to respond with sudden knee-jerk, reactionary measures that nobody wants.

Then there is another point to be made that should make conservatives want to tackle the issue of global warming; budgets and economics. While estimates vary, the most conservative economic studies show that for every dollar spent mitigating the effects of climate change, $4 would be saved in disaster relief and health costs. That’s a 4:1 ratio, which should make any true conservative stand up and demand action.