Posted on: Saturday, June 16, 2012 4:52 AM
|[crosspost from ClimateBites]
A conservative specialist in environmental law—Professor Jonathan Adler of Case Western Reserve University—lays out a thoughtful conservative approach to tackling climate change in a recent post at The Atlantic magazine.
Climate hawk David Roberts (Grist) accurately describes Adler’s piece as “an eloquent, principled case for the simple notion that ‘embrace of limited government principles need not entail the denial of environmental claims.’”
Adler suggests four policy changes to “make it cheaper and easier to adopt low-carbon technologies:” 1) prizes to spark innovation, 2) lower legal barriers to deployment, 3) a revenue-neutral carbon tax, and 4) adaptation.
Roberts notes, and most scientists would agree, that Adler understates the scale and urgency of the problem, cause and solutions. And no doubt, Adler—like Peter Wehner, Bob Inglis and a few others—is an outlier among today’s conservative leaders, for whom denying climate change has become a litmus test.
But Prof. Adler is clearly making, as he has for years, a serious attempt to grapple with the climate reality without abandoning conservative principles. Is there anything more important in climate politics today?
Adler’s short Atlantic article is worth reading in its entirety, as are some of his links below, for clues on how to speak effectively about climate to conservatives. Here’s the gist of his argument:
First, he makes the case, for skeptics, that global warming is real (the links are Adler’s; bold emphasis is mine):
Then Adler pivots to an interesting moral/legal case for climate action based on property rights.
Finally, Adler proposes four solutions, which, though no doubt insufficient, are creative and serious. Most interesting is his case for a carbon tax à la Hansen.
Interesting, no? Isn’t this the debate—how to solve the problem in a manner compatible with one’s values—that responsible leaders should be having? Adler’s piece is a good starting point for such a discussion—and offers at least a glimmer of hope for dialogue instead of a shouting match.