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The conservative case for tackling climate change

If political conservatives hate big government and higher taxes as much as they claim, they should be very concerned about the threat of climate change. Recent disastrous heat waves, wildfires, floods, and crop losses could be indicators of extreme conditions that may necessitate future large scale governmental intervention and increased tax burdens — things conservatives most desperately want to avoid.

Failure to seriously consider the existence and consequences of climate change (and plan for worst case scenarios) could threaten our national security and economy, making greater imposition of governmental controls and tax increases unavoidable.

Yet, Republican leaders continue to deny that the threat is real or that human exploitation of energy and resources are significant factors. They dismiss the possibility of being wrong and refuse to take any meaningful precautionary measures to deal with a likely environmental and economic disaster. It seems that they are counting on their one best case scenario — that the vast majority of the world's scientists are wrong and the preponderance of evidence for global warming can be explained by normal and temporary earth cycles.

If the Republican consensus on climate change proves to be incorrect, and timely action is not taken to address this issue, expanded governmental agencies, more regulations, higher taxes, and less personal freedom in how we live and use energy could be the price to be paid. How else could our nation deal with such a huge and pervasive problem? The result could be conservatives' worst nightmare.

Based on most scientific evidence, odds greatly favor the fact that climate change is happening and humans are at least making it worse. By not facing this reality, Republican leaders are accepting a very large risk and taking a reckless gamble with not only the future of the planet and our quality of life, but also with the credibility of their own political party.

John Stewart, Jarrettsville

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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