Should Conservatives care about the environment?

The piece below (“If the salt hath lost its savour”) appeared first on ConHome (thanks Tim Montgomerie!), and attracted a very large volume of comment — so large, in fact, that I have been unable to find again, for reference, one comment that caught my eye.
But it said (as near as I can remember), in reference to my comments about climate policy,  “What’s not Conservative about being concerned for the environment?”.
I shall resist the temptation to say, in very robust terms, quite what I think of this comment.  But I am happy to answer the question.
Of course conservatives can — and should — and do — care about the environment.  As a simple matter of etymology, “conservative” and “conservation” are virtually the same word.  The questioner has entirely missed the point, so much so that I conclude that he is hopelessly ignorant, or stupid, or perhaps just mischievous (sorry — I said I would avoid robust comments).  The question is not whether conservatives should care about the environment.  The question is whether the Conservative Party should be suckered into an hysterical media scare story based on disputed science and speculative computer models.  The question is whether we should bankrupt future generations with ruinous and entirely futile “green” energy projects.  Simple answer: we should not.
OK, you reply.  We know that Helmer thinks climate hysteria is bunkum, but suppose he’s wrong?  What then?
Rather than have me repeat myself ad nauseam, let me just urge you to read Lord Lawson’s book “An Appeal to Reason”.  He says (I paraphrase) that we are dealing here with very long-term issues and very slow changes.  Of course we should continue with research and monitoring of climate and associated factors.  But he argues that the costs of mitigation are so huge and damaging that we would do better to respond incrementally and locally to problems as they arise, rather than follow the Al Gore IPCC policy immediately.  It is hugely cheaper to build better sea defences, or to move the people of Tuvalu somewhere else when needed — although there is no evidence of sea level rise around Tuvalu at the moment — rather than commit to Chris Huhne’s wind farm plans.  This approach is called adaptation, in contrast with the IPCC’s mitigation.
Despite Lord Stern (who is wrong on so many counts), most serious economic studies show that the costs of mitigation greatly exceed any conceivable benefits.
Adaptation would involve relatively small investments over time, rather than vast speculative investments up-front.  And if — when — I’m shown to be right on climate, and the global warming hysteria collapses, we will thank our stars that we never built the wind farms.
For a fraction of what we plan to spend on mitigation, we could do wonderful conservation work.  We could also eliminate malnutrition, and provide water and sanitation in the third world, and eliminate many diseases and ameliorate the human condition.  That would be a proper conservative approach.

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7 Responses to Should Conservatives care about the environment?

  1. NeilMc says:

    Roger. Thank you for your courage and breaking the MSM consensus on AGW. The vast majority of real people out here in the world do not believe. The rest of the world mainly ignore the scam. The Chinese make a fortune manufacturing wind turbines for the useful idiots in the west to buy to impoversh their nations. Thanks Huhne. They then open a new coal fired power stataion every week.

    It needs a ‘consensus’ of like minded people like yourself, Nigel Lawson, Christopher Booker, Delingpole etc etc, to rid us of this ludicrous con. from the left.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. “Green” activists routinely like to give the impression, that Conservatives are generally heartless or ignorant regarding all environmental issues – when they dare to dispute flawed concepts such as “global warming”. Roger’s post is a useful reminder, that such people are both very wrong and disingenuous. And as he points out, future environmental policies should be based upon adaptation rather than speculation. A large proportion of the public now seem to accept, that there is no evidence for global warming which cannot be scientifically contested. In due course, more elements within the national (and world) media will realise this – and publish better articles about the true situation.

  3. matthew fox says:

    Why should do they, they don’t care about the poor.

  4. F Hugh Eveleigh says:

    Well answered. As you imply, Conservatives are not against assessing any information on possible climate change but we have to be sensibly cautious in the way we do this and the conclusions we might draw from it. We all know the current general response of most politicians and media but we also know, interestingly enough, how ‘global warming’ has morphed into ‘climate change’ and how, in general, there are fewer wildly alarmist climate statements being made. But the legislation in place and proposed to counter so called climate change will as you point out, cause untold economic damage. I think the more we say “hold on a moment let’s think this through calmly’ the more chance we have of reacting reasonably. But will this happen?

  5. James A. Hutchinson says:

    Well said , Roger. Wind farms are blighting land and seascapes in the UK at enormous and fruitless cost . Richard Littlejohn’s column, Daily Mail , dated 31/12/10 stated that he had just checked the website re the output of these ” windmills ” and found that they were contributing just 0.2% of Britain’s electricity needs !The National Grid also has to have conventional power station back-up as wind farms are so unpredictable. ( Well ,well !). Nuclear power stations are our only hope for future needs , not this ” belt and braces ” lunatic policy we currently have .

  6. Anne Palmer says:

    I think perhaps I am right along with Roger Helmer in that we should all care about the Environment there is no doubt about that, and I remember the “Smog” we used to get in London many years ago. But in “Todays’ world it is all just another way to take our money from us.

    Another way of measuing emissions, is from an article by Philip Stott, on 12th April 2001 holds one or two “facts”, although I cannot verify any of them. “European politicians, who like to focus on country-by country comparisons which are, in geographical terms, meaningless, have carefully nurtured the myth that the USA is the main producer of carbon dioxide (CO2). But how can you compare tiny counties, like the UK (only 94,227 square miles) or Sweden (173,723 square miles), with the USA (3,732,400 square miles)? Any meaningful geographical comparison has to be with Western Europe as a whole, or at least with the 15 Member States of the European Union (EU) and even the EU, at 1,249,000 square miles, has well under half the land area of the USA.”

    “If we take the carbon dioxide emissions from consumption and flaring of fossil fuels for 1999 (1), we see that the countries of the EU emit around 925 million metric tons of carbon equivalent (MMTCe) per year, while the USA emits 1519.89 MMTCe per year. Correcting these figures by area gives us 0.0007 MMTCe per square mile per year for the EU and 0.0004 MMTCe per square mile for the USA. So the per unit area production in the EU is 175 percent that of the USA. And this does not include emissions from EU applicant states, like Turkey (49.96 MMTCe in 1999)”

    Part of the Kyoto Protocol is that “developing countries are not required to reduce their “greenhouse-gas” emissions, and therefore businesses in those nations will avoid the draconian costs heaped on to other nations”. It does not take a genius to work out that it would encourage large firms to move from perhaps the UK to these developing nations and so avoid high environmental costs. This will throw more people out of work here and at the same time, do absolutely nothing to “save the environment”. All the developing countries will be doing is making their emissions higher. If this were put to its full potential, greenhouse gas emissions would be likely to rise, not fall.

    Piers Corbin argues that weather problems are caused by solar activity, not carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The levels of CO2 are governed by global temperatures, which are governed by particles from the sun. Mankind is adding some CO2-this is true-but at levels which will, generally speaking, be reabsorbed by nature quite rapidly.

    Lets face it, if the sun fell out of the sky, we would probably all freeze to death.

  7. Charles Wardrop says:

    Can anyone explain why Mr Huehne, a successful businessman, who must know about value for and waste of money can justify such misuse of taxpayer funds as his policies occasion?

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