Here Come the Green Conservatives?

December 19, 2013

teddyandjohn

Of course,if conservative means conserving and holding on to that which is good, being green is profoundly conservative.
Across the country, conservatives are figuring out that renewable energy supports the values of community, individual self determination, and economic competition – as well as devolving power away from big government, big companies, and downward to states, counties, cities, towns, communities, small businesses, and individuals.
It’s only in the last few decades that a mutant, anti-science, anti-enlightenment, “conservative” movement, twisted by the “Southern Strategy”, the right’s cultivations of fundamentalist nutjobs and racists, has turned against its environmental roots.
Maybe that tide is changing in the face of overwhelming evidence of an imminent global threat. I hope to listen today as Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder, a republican, gives a significant speech on energy. There is hope for a shift.

The New Republic:

A group of Michigan Republicans is pushing the state toward reliance on renewable energy sources, and away from coal. The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum, which is headed by the former political director of the state’s Republican Party, Larry Ward, is the latest piece of evidence that Democrats don’t have a monopoly on environmentalism—and it could serve as a blueprint for Republicans in other states who see sound economics in green policies, even if they remain wary of the politics.

“For too long, we have allowed the energy discourse to be dominated by the left,” Ward said. “Conservatives have sat on the sidelines for far too long.”

At the local and state levels, they’re increasingly getting up from their seats. Though the Michigan forum has yet to commit to a specific strategy, it has vowed to work with Republican Governor Rick Snyder to create an “all of the above” energy policy that invests in ever-more-affordable options like wind and solar. At a New Republic event with the Center for American Progress last week, two conservative mayors explained how they rebuilt their cities along sustainable lines. “We started to look at everything the city government did to see how we could do it in a better way, and part of doing it a better way is being more friendly to the environment,” said Jim Brainard, the mayor of Carmel, Indiana. Both professed confidence in the science that shows humans are warming the climate.

Earlier this month, Politico Pro’s Darren Goode amassed more examples:

In Appalachia, greens are banding together with the Tennessee Conservative Union to oppose mountaintop mining. In Georgia, the Sierra Club and Atlanta’s tea party have formed a Green Tea Coalition that is demanding a bigger role for solar power in the state’s energy market. Elsewhere, veterans of the George W. Bush administration are working with the Environmental Defense Fund on market-based ideas for protecting endangered species.

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58 Responses to “Here Come the Green Conservatives?”

  1. Cy Halothrin Says:

    It is mildly encouraging to see some conservatives doing the right thing, even if for the wrong reason. The linked article (in the New Republic) indicates that some conservatives in Michigan oppose the Keystone pipeline, but it’s mainly a not-in-my-backyard movement. I presume that if I was a homeowner in Michigan, I wouldn’t particularly want an oil pipeline running past my house, regardless of whether or not I believed in AGW. Nor would I want a polluting coal power plant in the neighborhood. Narrow self-interest is easy to understand.

    That seems to be what’s going on here – local conservatives and liberals coming together on an issue because it affects them directly. I’m fine with that. However, I suspect that many of those conservatives would be OK with the Keystone pipeline if it got moved across the border to a neighboring state. Ditto for a coal-burning power plant.

    I think it’s a bit premature to say that conservatives are finally understanding why AGW is bad for them and everybody else. Until Rush Limbaugh tells them otherwise, the majority of self-proclaimed conservatives believe that AGW is a hoax. It’s a defining issue for them. It’s got nothing at all to do with science – if you want to wear the political label “conservative,” you have to believe it’s a hoax, because Fox News says so. If you question that and start thinking for yourself, you’re automatically kicked out of the “movement.”

    The Libertarians might have a little more slack, since they see themselves as being outside the Republican mainstream, and don’t necessarily tow the Party line. I’ve met Libertarians who do believe in AGW. The big problem they have is that they don’t like “Big Government” solutions, so any kind of regulation (like restrictions on burning coal) go against their philosophy. They think the much ballyhooed “Free Market” provides the solution to everything, so it will eventually solve the AGW problem too. Just exactly how that is going to happen is something they’d rather not think about.


  2. “I’m not coming out with conclusions, but here are the areas we need to come up with some goals that we need to get resolved by 2015. We need affordable , reliable energy with no regrets….. I recognize that next year is an election year and to do things legislatively is more challenging. I want to be respectful of that.” – Governor Snyder

    In this era of non-stop political campaigns, persuading voters is more effective than persuading politicians.

  3. kingdube Says:

    So I take it that none of you knows of a study supporting the 2.5-5X multiplier of the Models. I cannot find one.

    As I said: Both sides agree to the 1C rise for a doubling of CO2. Both sides agree that 1C temp rise should incite more water vapor. Both sides agree that water vapor is a yet more powerful GHG than CO2 (this is where “settled science” ends).

    The issue is: what becomes of this water vapor? If it all remains as a gas in the atmosphere it should incite more heating as in the Models. But no one knows how it might impact cloud formation. That’s the rub. And a 2% change in cloud cover is a BFD in either direction.

    It seems reasonable to assume that at least some of the incited water vapor increase would remain gaseous and therefore contribute a positive feedback to additional atmospheric heating (as in the Models).

    However, it similarly seems reasonable to assume that at least some of the incited water vapor increase would form additional cloud cover and therefore contribute a negative feedback to atmospheric cooling.

    The question is: which one wins the battle. So far, we simply do not know.

    This is the crucial question that intellectuals are properly focused on.


    • The amount of available liquid water is mathematically infinite compared to the amount of gaseous water in the atmosphere. Therefore the question of whether or not “it all remains as a gas in the atmosphere” is a moot point. Theoretically and measurably there is about 7% more water vapor in the atmosphere per degree at the planet’s current temperature range. That is a certain positive feedback.

      On the other hand, you correctly assert that scientists are less certain about how the increase in absolute humidity (and other factors) impacts cloud formation. However, what you omit is that not all cloud formation is a negative feedback. High level clouds and nighttime clouds are negative feedbacks.

      We will find out which one wins the battle. Apparently we’re going to keep running our truly fascinating geo-engineering experiment. Mazel tov.


      • Charles – take a look at this. Same thing he got before. He’s trolling for people who don’t know he’s already been given the information. There is a lot more on Skeptical Science. Thats why I wonder if he is a paid troll. If he were honest, he wouldn’t say he never got the information. He would have to refer to the information he was given and further the conversation by disagreeing or whatever. By starting over without admitting the truth,… well you can come to your own conclusions.

        He actually had the temerity to float the 600 year lag, and a whole lot of other nonsense. He did come up with a unique one that amazed us all. He claimed that geothermal was more significant than CO2, which he called tertiary, (who knows where he got that, its not scientific jargon re climate) His argument? Since the earth has geothermal, and is exothermic, …. Nocody can make any sense of that, except that, in fact, as long as the earth has energy inside it, there is only one place for it to go at equilibrium. Therefore, it being exothermic is irrelevant. The only way for it to be endothermic would be if it was an energy sink. Thermally, all energy passes to outer space. So the whole thing is ridiculous. One wonders. With all the identical posts repeated, it could be a computer program, with occasional live input. Either way, there is no semblance of real interest in real exploratory discussion.

        • fortranprog Says:

          Kingdube is a big wattsupwiththat fan and is a hard core denier (not a computer program – no progranner could reproduce that), he only has an output channel (closed and blocked input channel, like so many others). you cannot reason with him. Just tolerate him as a sanity check and he is far better to communicate than my nemesis Ken Ring.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            I need to know how and where I can see Ken Ring in action. Anyone who is far worse than The Dube is work paying admission to see. Please tell us.


          • He does repeat posts word for word, which means he is not typing every post. Seems like the intention is to disrupt, not inform, learn, and enlighten, therefore fundamentally dishonest.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            I agree, there is something very “stinky” and dishonest about The Dube. He is in a far different category than even Stonehead and O-Log, the next two “up” the list. (note qualifier quotation marks around “up”) I don’t think he is “real” and serves NO useful purpose on Crock. Would he go away if all we ever responded to his idiocy with was “GO AWAY”?

          • fortranprog Says:

            Ken Ring regularly posts anti AGW propaganda on Yahoo – readers used to be able to respond, but now (after some awkward questions were asked of him), he has blocked the 2 way posts, but still outputs his sh$$.

            He also has his own site, where he bashes climate science/scientists/institutions and predicts weather and earthquakes:

            Ken Ring of http://www.predictweather.com

            http://nz.news.yahoo.com/opinion/post/-/blog/19169147/climate-changers-dancing-in-the-streets/

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Ah yes, MOON MAN! THAT Ken Ring. The one who predicts earthquakes and weather based on lunar cycles. I tried to read the second link but I have extreme difficulty understanding “opinion-based science”. To me, it’s about as valid and oxymoronic as religion-based science. And I too am an “opinion based weather predictor, and I can prove it! Watch me!

            “I can state definitively that it IS snowing somewhere in the northern hemisphere at this very instant” (How’d I do? Would you pay $$$ for my forecasts? Apparently there are enough dupes in NZ that do)


          • Fortranprog – does dube use the same post, turning the corner, on many websites. Could be he is mass posting like some crank them out boiler room propaganda machine.

          • fortranprog Says:

            KD believes we are as load of idiots and he sees something we do not see, he thinks he can play with, distract and manipulate us with his nonsense. His “wattsupwiththat” comments are very clear to the point and concise. Eventually he will get tired and bored and move on (I hope).

          • skeptictmac57 Says:

            Hey! Don’t knock Ken Ring’s lunar effect on earthquakes theory.I have it on good authority that almost every earthquake has occurred within two weeks of a full moon…ipso facto ! ;)

          • fortranprog Says:

            KingDube is undoubtedly a republican and most likely quite old around 70 and left handed, What does strike me is the strong political bias towards views on climate science. Heartland Institute affiliated Wattupwiththat and Climate etc. have strong conservative/republican undertones, the readers cheer when a right wing party (Norway/Australia) win, whilst Climate crocks veers in the other direction. This is why I worry about carbon tax/credits etc., as I have seen right wing parties, such as Abbott’s in Australia, and Key’s in N.Z tendency to play on it and dismiss it as leftist/socialist, and win popular votes to beat the leftist parties, and climate change together with carbon credit/taxes diminish in importance.(see Australia/New Zealand) How the heck has climate science gotten itself wrapped up in worldwide politics ? How does it escape the snare ?

            http://cleantechnica.com/2013/12/20/france-introduces-carbon-tax-months-hydraulic-fracturing-ban/

            http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/12/20/3095491/australias-galilee-basin-palmer-coal/

          • dumboldguy Says:

            HEY! Watch it! I’m not a Republican, although I did contribute triple digit $$$ to McCain very early in the campaign when I thought he might take on Lieberman as his Veep and thought he deserved a chance. I thought that having two old guys, one an ex-POW and the other a Jew, would give folks in the MidEast and Asia some motivation not to mess with the U.S. The selection of you-know-who from Alaska settled the question. I am right-handed but I am also more than “around” 70 and don’t think you should pick on us old folks just for being old. I suspect The Dube may have started displaying signs of pre-senile dementia at about the time he started wearing long pants.

            You are right on target when you talk about “strong political bias” towards climate science on the right and ask how climate science has gotten itself wrapped up in worldwide politics. IMO, it’s the $$$. Runaway predatory capitalism and greedy and shortsighted free-marketers see dealing with AGW as a threat to their bottom line. IMO, it may be too late to escape the snare. The camel has snuck more than the nose under the tent over the past 30 to 40 years, and you must read Winner-Take-All-Politics to understand all of it.


          • Doobie’s cloud comment came across as coherently doubtful – far better than his typical dismissive conclusions.

            It’s more likely that kingdube is just another pseudonym for dumboldguy than a paid troll. He could not ask for a better straight man. :)

          • dumboldguy Says:

            LOL Thanks for the gratuitous insult, Charles. If you think I’ve invented The Dube as an alter ego that I can play against, let me tell you that I would invent someone far, far, FAR more intelligent and plausible than The Dube.

            Anyone who had to “play the dube” for any reason would lose so many IQ points in the process that they would soon forget how to use a computer and thereby become “extinct” on Crock. I have no wish to play a “Russian Roulette” game like that.

            And daveburton is a far better straight man than The Dube anyway. At least his IQ is barely into triple digits and he presents a small challenge on occasion. But wait! Dave is again babbling about arctic sea ice extent on another thread, so I must be mistaken—back to double digits for him.


          • Old guy, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to sincerely complement you than with a gratuitous insult.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            LOL Thank you, Charles. Having grown up in North Jersey where gratuitous insults were a sign of friendship, I’m glad you’re my friend.

        • andrewfez Says:

          = Nobody can make any sense of that, except that, in fact, as long as the earth has energy inside it, there is only one place for it to go at equilibrium. Therefore, it being exothermic is irrelevant.=

          You get these guys every once in a while on the internet that try to argue the equivalent of: – if you put on an insulated jacket, your skin/body will not get warmer -. There was a whole ‘crock’ built around this idea, where denialists would claim that because the ‘jacket’ is colder than one’s ‘body’, then any transfer of heat to the skin/body from the jacket (i.e. re-radiation) is somehow breaking the 2nd law of thermodynamics. The idea was popular a few years ago.


          • Yes, we get the more incredible arguments here. We get the ones at the level of high school or first year college. If you have some patience, science background, and read quickly, Skeptical Science is interesting. I waded through a thread on feedbacks, and watched as it was slowly discovered that one reason a blogger dissented was that he did not understand that the definition of the word “forcing” in climatology. Turns out, it means only a delta from equilibrium, not an absolute value of any energy. It would do well for anyone discussing the issue to study up or even take a class in the subject. It at least opens the window to understanding. From there you can actually wade into Spencer and other climatology arguments with some sure footing. Thing is, and you understand, that respect for the serious intent of others efforts, thought, and diligence is paramount. I respect those dedicated scholars subjecting themselves to critical examination. To advance ones ideas, one has to do the same.

          • andrewfez Says:

            I try to keep things simple, since following these things is more of a hobby than anything. I like to think of forcings as situations that cause the equivalent of either less radiation or more radiation entering some agreed upon point in the upper atmosphere. In effect, the equivalent of ‘turning up’ the sun or ‘turning down’ the sun with a tuning nob. This of course, does redefine equilibrium for the system, and given enough time the system will achieve that new equilibrium.

            One of the easiest things to think about, regarding feed backs is just the generic equation Tsubf=Tsubi/(1-f), where scientists can measure feedbacks and just convert the ‘effect’ of that feedback into a value for f that makes sense to the generic equation. f just equals the sum of fsubwv, which is water vapor, fsuba, which is albedo, fsubl, which is laps rate (the idea that when a system gains energy it radiates more energy for a given period of time; simple black body radiation stuff), and fsubc, which is the cloud feedback. Tsubi is the temp change from a doubling of CO2 not counting the feedbacks, and Tsubf is the the temp change from doubling CO2 with all the feedbacks factored in. Perhaps I should have mentioned at the beginning of the paragraph that the equation is built around the idea of the sensitivity of doubling CO2, but I supposed you could make one for any of the forcings. These days, with all the measurements that have been happening the last 10 or 15 years, you can roughly solve the equation using only measured data; so you don’t even need a computer model to tell you about the sensitivity. The models just reconfirm the basic math based on the measurements.


  4. Green Party Conservative Terry Modglin

    Green Party Conservative Terry Modglin

    Col. Jim Leslie Green Party conservative

    Gail for Rail Parker Green Party conservative


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