Conservatives Speak Out for Climate Action in Cleveland
"There is no ideological view of science. There is simply science.”
CLEVELAND, OH –Conservative thought leaders and business executives convened this week in Cleveland to discuss climate change at a forum organized by the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC). Breaking with the official GOP position of skepticism, executives spoke passionately about challenge posed by climate change, and the need to address it. They discussed a range of potential solutions that could reduce carbon emissions through policies consistent with free market principles and limited government.
They also called for more progress on renewable energy sourcing and expressed strong concern about reducing the business risk and loss from climate-related disasters and resource depredation.
ASBC Forum speaker Jerry Taylor is a leading libertarian/conservative thinker on carbon issues. He left the Cato Institute to establish the Niskanen Center think tank. "There is no ideological view of science. There is simply science,” he said. “And if the science tells us that climate change is a significant risk––that the future of the planet is at stake and that we're rolling dice with the very future of our planet by not acting––then there’s nothing conservative about playing that game with dice. And there’s nothing market-oriented about rejecting market- oriented responses to greenhouse gas pollution."
Taylor also said, “If we are going to manage risk, we have to acknowledge that this isn’t really about what’s the most likely outcome from climate change. It’s about how we address the full range of possible outcomes from climate change in a sea of uncertainty. And given the full distribution of risk here, it requires us to act robustly.”
Panelists at the forum debated the value of a tax on carbon. Taylor said, “An effective carbon tax recycles revenue back to taxpayers and doesn't require growth in government. Harnessing markets rather than bureaucracy to tackle climate risk is a powerful solution conservatives can get excited about.”
Another forum speaker, Mark Pischea, a Partner at the Sterling Corporation and the Executive Director of the Conservative Energy Network, was a former political director for the Michigan Republican Party. "I'm excited to see more and more conservatives assessing their options and supporting clean energy for the economic opportunities and improved security [it offers],” he said. “Our message to the Republican convention was that American business favors policies supporting the renewable energy sector because it promotes entrepreneurial vigor, jobs for U.S. consumers, and [maintains] our essential security.”
Panelist Catrina Rorke, Director of Energy Policy at RStreet Institute, said, “We are raising awareness about the economic opportunities in clean energy and helping define what the energy economy actually looks like. We want Congress to take more action on these issues and thereby prevent more regulations from the EPA.”
Recordings of this and other panel discussions from the forum may be found at http://asbcouncil.org/webinars.
The American Sustainable Business Council advocates for policy change and informs business owners and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant, sustainable economy. Through its national member network, ASBC represents more than 200,000 business owners, executives and investors in a wide range of industries. www.asbcouncil.org
EDITOR’S NOTE: Those quoted and other panelists are available of interview or broadcast appearances. Contact: Bob Keener, 617-610-6766, firstname.lastname@example.org