A real conservative’s perspective on climate change
On the Feb. 23 editorial page, Charles Krauthammer goes on at length to challenge the notion that climate change is “settled science.”
It’s astounding to me that the so-called conservatives of today are still having this debate. About 30 years ago, I was at this very point of not knowing for sure if global warming, as it was referred to then, was really taking place, or was just some variation that would sort itself out in time. However, as someone who grew up in a conservative household, my reaction to this indecision was very different from that of Mr. Krauthammer.
Like many others of that generation, my Depression-era parents’ experience taught them to take an approach of being cautious, careful and mindful of the future in their economic decisions. Purchases were carefully weighed and often rejected, treats like eating out were saved for special occasions, and money was put aside, for you never knew what the future would bring. Adages like “why buy new when old will do?” or “put aside for a rainy day” were hallmarks of many of this conservative generation.
So when I was battling this indecision about global warming, my conservative background forced me to weigh the long-term consequences of action vs. inaction. Maybe in the short term the change to a renewable-based energy might involve a little more in taxes up-front (although in the future would lower energy costs for businesses), but the consequences of inaction should climate change prove to be true would be enormously costly, indeed catastrophic in economic and human terms.
My conservative upbringing said, wouldn’t it make more sense to leave some coal, oil and gas where it is for a rainy day? Wouldn’t it be better to have renewable energy in place for the inevitable day when oil and gas run out, regardless of whether global warming was taking place? Wouldn’t it be better, even if you’re not convinced that climate change is real, to be prepared for the worst and rejoice if the climate change believers, like I have since become, are wrong?
What this world needs now are conservatives. True conservatives. People who try to reduce their consumption of resources, put aside for a rainy day, and take action for an uncertain future. How about it, Mr. Krauthammer?
Don’t let them take away Internet freedom
For those who are unaware, there is an ongoing war over the future of the Internet.
In the past, the Internet itself has been a free forum that treats all comers (be they a person, a group, or a company) as equals.
Some corporations are waging battle to change this state of affairs and make the Internet an aristocracy where right of passage is purchased and there is a clear distinction between the rich and poor.
Stopping this requires a strong government stance. Please call or write to your congressman and the FCC [Federal Communications Commission].
Make election reform a reality this year
Gov. Cuomo has taken important steps toward campaign finance reform by including it in his budget for 2014-2015. The League of Women Voters calls on the governor and Legislature to make campaign finance reform a reality by passing this budget.
Today our campaign finance system discourages participation in elections and the influence of money in politics erodes public trust. New York needs robust and independent enforcement of campaign finance laws, lower contribution limits, elimination of loopholes, significant disclosure and a small donor match public financing system of elections, all of which were recommended by the Moreland Commission.
The Legislature and governor must not miss this opportunity to get the reforms we need passed.
The writer is Steering Committee leader for the League of Women Voters of Schenectady.
Note to readers
We’ve already run six letters on Gov. Cuomo’s proposal to provide free college for prisoners, and keep getting more. To ensure there is room in the paper for letters about other subjects, additional letters regarding the Cuomo proposal will go on our website. Look for them there.