“A wrong attitude towards nature implies, somewhere, a wrong attitude towards God”
That the earth has gotten increasingly warmer over the past 125 years is an established fact. All of the temperature data compiled since 1880—which has been verified by temperature data from land-based weather stations, weather balloons, satellite measurements, sea and ocean temperature records, tree rings and various other sources—confirms it. Short-term fluctuations due to weather patterns do not change this underlying reality. There is nothing remotely conservative about ignoring or rejecting all of this scientific evidence.
Similarly conclusive evidence shows that the burning of fossil fuels over the same time period has significantly increased the concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses (GHG) in our atmosphere. Scientists understand that excessive concentrations of these gases in our atmosphere serve to trap heat and warm the planet. The fundamentals of this are well established. Alexander Graham Bell, back in 1917 recognized that the unchecked burning of fossil fuels “would have a sort of greenhouse effect” and noted “The net result is the greenhouse becomes a sort of hot-house.”
For a more in-depth explanation of the science visit our Climate Science page.
While scientists do not know everything there is to know about our climate, nor can they predict every impact of climate change with 100% certainty, more than enough is known that it is prudent—and therefore conservative—to heed their warnings and take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Because how we choose to reduce these emissions matters greatly, it is important that conservatives be constructively engaged in efforts to address climate change. Throughout the nation’s history, conservative leadership has produced the most effective, efficient and enduring solutions to our environmental problems—from smog and water pollution to ozone depletion and acid rain, conservative leadership has been instrumental to finding the best solutions.
There are many things that can be done to address climate change and to reduce GHG emissions. CRS favors actions that are not only effective, but also smart, efficient, fiscally responsible and economically sound. Improving energy efficiency and relying more on cleaner forms of energy are obvious steps in the right direction.
Achieving the level of carbon dioxide reductions scientists say are needed to reduce the risk of catastrophic impacts will require some broader mechanism to limit emissions. CRS prefers market-based mechanisms that attach a cost to carbon pollution and encourage investment in greater efficiency and cleaner fuels. However, without conservative support, market-based approaches will likely lose out to the command-and-control regulations favored by liberals.