Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Climate Change Recklessness

Conservatives Aren't

Toles cartoon on climate change
What does it mean to be a conservative? Conservatives who believe in actual conservation are surprisingly few. Conservatives elsewhere seem truer to actual conservative principles, as did conservatives of an earlier time. When it comes to climate change, today's so-called conservatives abandon their principles:
Far from being conservative, the Republican stance on global warming shows a stunning appetite for risk. When faced with uncertainty and the possibility of costly outcomes, smart businessmen buy insurance, reduce their downside exposure and protect their assets. When confronted with a disease outbreak of unknown proportions, front-line public health workers get busy producing vaccines, pre-positioning supplies and tracking pathogens. And when military planners assess an enemy, they get ready for a worst-case encounter.

When it comes to climate change, conservatives are doing none of this. Instead, they are recklessly betting the farm on a single, best-case scenario: That the scientific consensus about global warming will turn out to be wrong. This is bad risk management and an irresponsible way to run anything, whether a business, an economy or a planet.
We need some climate insurance. To eschew prudence courts disaster. It will also lead to a substantially more intrusive set of big government programs and regulations to effect the pound of cure then required due to the folly of failing to implement the ounce of prevention needed today.

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