Documenting the conservative Anglosphere's 180-degree turn on climate change

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Documenting the conservative Anglosphere's 180-degree turn on climate change Empty Documenting the conservative Anglosphere's 180-degree turn on climate change

Post by Ben Reilly on Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:19 pm

In 1990, "Iron Lady" Margaret Thatcher, the conservative hero, scientist and former leader of Britain, called for swift action to combat climate change. She said scientists knew enough for governments to proceed with an "insurance policy" against catastrophe.

Thatcher borrowed the insurance concept from former President Ronald Reagan, who led negotiation of the 1987 Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer.
Eight days after Thatcher died on April 8, talk radio host Rush Limbaugh said, "There is no science in global warming." What science there is, he said, "is not settled. Beside that, we all know that it's a hoax now."

On a chilly day in March, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, stood outside the Capitol, calling for more global warming and denouncing efforts to set a price on carbon as "recycled liberal policy that raises taxes and kills jobs." Also last month, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, insisted on removing the word "climate" from a resolution celebrating International Women's Day.

How did the conservative movement travel so far, so fast? How did a party that prided itself on reason become a hotbed of scientific denial?

The transformation has paralyzed U.S. policymaking and squandered decades that could have been spent weaning the world from fossil fuels. Twenty-three years after Thatcher urged action, the United States has no policy on climate change, even as its effects are evident and the window for action is closing.

In 1997, "there was no difference between the way Democrats and Republicans across America viewed the issue," said Ed Maibach, executive director of George Mason University's Center for Climate Change Communication, a research center. Two out of 3 Democrats and 2 of 3 Republicans believed climate change was real and serious.

"Somewhere along the way, conservatism became, 'I've got a God-given right to drive my SUV wherever I want to go, and we'll send somebody else's kids to the Middle East to fight for it,' " said former South Carolina Rep. Bob Inglis, a Republican who lost his 2010 primary election over global warming and now runs the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, where he is pushing for a price on carbon pollution.

Another interesting observation from the article:

"Part of the problem was Al Gore," said retired Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y., a longtime, pro-environment chair of the House Science Committee. "It became very fashionable to be anti whatever Gore was for."

And I crawled out the window with my shadow in a spoon
Dancing on the roof shooting holes in the moon

- Beck
Ben Reilly
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