Month 6, Day 6: Grandpa, What Did You Do In The War On The Environment?

Time Magazine ran a column by Strobe Talbott and William Antholis basically pointing out that there are many wonderful and intellectually consistent reasons for conservatives to agree that climate change is a threat and we should do something about it. Of course, conservatives never will.

Talbott and Antholis are entirely correct that climate change upends the notion of bequeathing prosperity to our posterity. Our money and possessions will be useless on an uninhabitable planet. Alas, there are two reasons why conservatives cannot follow their advice. First is the fact that conservative politicians have allied with fundamentalist religious leaders who uniformly embrace both Young Earth Creationism and the notion of an Apocalypse, a relationship exemplified by Reagan’s Interior Secretary James Watt, who memorably said, “We don’t have to protect the environment, the Second Coming is at hand.” The second is simply that it is essentially impossible for a conservative politician to admit error in matters of policy (personal behavior is a different story). This inability to recognize the need for a change in position may well prevent passage of climate legislation, thereby leaving a heritage of ignorance and environmental devastation to our grandchildren.

Warren Senders

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