Real conservatives stand with science on climate

You would expect conservatives to stand with 95 percent of the scientific community and to grow the 13 percent into a working majority. Normally, we deal in facts, we accept science and we counter sentiment — as we do when we stand for free- trade agreements, for entitlement reform and against minimum- wage increases. Each of those positions gets us in trouble with sizable constituencies, and yet we stand for the truth as we know it — that free trade increases our nation’s wealth, that entitlements are consuming the federal budget and that minimum wages create unemployment.

Courage fails us when it comes to energy and climate. Fearing our economic circumstances, we’ve decided to channel the fear rather than to confront it. Some conservatives even allege that the scientific conclusion about climate change is affected by the flow of grant money — a conflict of interest that we overlook when taking the drug Lipitor, even though the tests proving its efficacy were financed by its maker, Pfizer. Conservatives seem to think that climate change is for elitists, enviros and Democrats, not hard-working, God-fearing Republicans…

Normally, conservatives are also people who believe in accountability. We start with proposition that humans are responsible moral actors, and we believe that behavior has consequences. So why don’t we hold power plants accountable for their emissions?