If you listen to Fox News or conservative talk show hosts you get the sense that advocating a green economy is not conservative. In fact, American conservatives—Republicans, treat it as folly and a socialist plot. The mantra for American conservatives is "drill baby drill," not "conserve baby conserve."
This is not the case in other places. A very influential group of British Conservative Party Members of Parliament (MPs) called on their party to "redefine the green agenda" and make it a central plank of its pitch to the country ahead of the 2015 election.
Expanding the Green Economy in Great Britain
According to an article by James Murray in the British publication” Business Green” the 2020 Group of Tory modernizers published a new strategy document arguing that a re-invigoration of David Cameron's modernization agenda that embraces the expansion of the green economy offers the best path to a Conservative majority at the next election. That sounds more like the Democratic Party than the so-called conservative Republican Party.
The document “2020 Vision: An Agenda for Transformation” features a host of policy proposals that would form the basis of the party's 2015 manifesto. It is an unequivocal commitment to the green economy, which the MPs argue is essential to tackle worsening resource constraints and climate change risks.
A chapter entitled "Making the Green Economy the Mainstream Economy" claims government support for the green economy is critical to the UK's long-term competitiveness. The statement concluded:
"In 2020 a new industrial revolution will be underway, accepted as the new paradigm for modern business practice. Business model terminology will have changed significantly by 2020. No longer will people describe companies as 'green' or 'ethical' - quite the reverse. Companies will be specifically described as fossil fuel companies and will be regarded as having archaic business models, greater insecurity in financial returns due to exposure to a widely fluctuating global market, and unethical in terms values and philosophy.
We will drop the word 'renewable' because renewable will be the norm. Ultimately, sustainable energy sources will be as much about economic efficiencies, resilience, and a modern economic model as it is about reducing our carbon emissions in the face of climate change."
Republicans and Renewable Energy
If conservation is conservative in the UK, why is it anathema to American Republicans? Most Republicans in Congress are climate change deniers, or at best, indifferent. They would rather do the bidding of big oil than even consider moderate steps to limit carbon pollution. Can you imagine hearing any Republican on the Energy Committee in Congress saying “renewable energy will be the norm?”
The answer may come from the fact that the U.S. has a larger oil and gas industry than the UK. The oil and gas industry spends tens of millions a year in TV ads to shape public opinion so the public will support their political agenda which consists of taxpayer subsidies for oil and the right to produce with no environmental constraint. They also produce “scientific studies” of their own to refute real science on climate change and the role carbon pollution causes. And they have been successful.
There are members of the British Conservative Party who are more in favor of exploiting Britain’s shale oil than renewables, so it is not a sure thing this agenda will be adopted. However, the groups believe it will.
The key thing is that a large and respected group of “conservatives” are calling for the green economy to be the mainstream economy. If a Republican dared utter such “heresy” here, he or she would face a primary and be torn to shreds by Fox News and the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingham, and Shawn Hannity.
The root of conservative and conservation is conserve. Conserving our environment should once again be the goal of true conservatives. A true conservative should not be the tool of those who would destroy our planet.
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