Orion Magazine, by Bill McKibben, July/August 2009

I know that some people believe libertarians and other conservatives have punted on climate change simply because they’re in bed with the fossil fuel companies—that they’ve taken lots of money from dirty energy and now do the bidding of their masters. This is undoubtedly true of plenty of individual politicians, but one hopes—fervently—that it isn’t true of the millions of thoughtful people and groups that need to be a part of a crucial debate. I think, instead, that history explains some of the resistance. The global warming scare arrived on the scene at the end of the Reagan years, at the absolute high-water mark of conservative confidence, and so it seemed a real threat to the movement’s ascendancy. I think the syllogism in many minds went like this: markets solve all problems; markets aren’t solving global warming; Q.E.D., global warming isn’t a problem.

Read Bill McKibben’s analysis of why the majority of conservatives still dispute climate change. This isn’t your typical liberal rant about the need for government controls. Instead, it’s a call for conservatives to lend their faith in market solutions to solve our largest global problem. Since markets only work when they are accompanied by good information, it’s time for the conservative block to face up to science and recognize that CO2 is dangerous, and should be expensive to emit. Conservatives and liberals can fight all they about the best ways to curb emissions, but in order to have the kind of policy debate we really need, everyone will have to accept the facts.