Don’t believe in global warming? That’s not very conservative.

The best science available suggests that without taking action to fundamentally change how we produce and use energy, we could see temperatures rise 9 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit over much of the United States by 2090. These estimates have sometimes been called high-end predictions, but the corresponding low-end forecasts assume we will rally as a country to shift course. That hasn’t happened, so the worst case must become our best guess….

Today’s conservatives would do well to start thinking more like military planners, reexamining the risks inherent in their strategy. If, instead, newly elected Republicans do nothing, they will doom us all to bigger government interventions and a large dose of suffering – a reckless choice that’s anything but conservative.

That’s from a terrific op-ed in today’s WashPost from CAP’s Bracken Hendricks.

As I’ve said many times, modern conservative ideology has become 100% anti-conservation.  Indeed, this is why Tea-Party ‘conservatism’ may be the most radical political philosophy ever to achieve significant political power in this country, since it ultimately will destroy the American way of life as we have come to know it, leading to untold misery and far bigger government than this country has seen in the post-WWII era (see “Real adaptation is as politically tough as real mitigation, but much more expensive and not as effective in reducing future misery:  Rhetorical adaptation, however, is a political winner. Too bad it means preventable suffering for billions”).

Here is more from the Hendricks piece (annotated):

Few causes unite the conservatives of the newly elected 112th Congress as unanimously as their opposition to government action on climate change.

In September, the Center for American Progress Action Fund surveyed Republican candidates in congressional and gubernatorial races and found that nearly all disputed the scientific consensus on global warming, and none supported measures to mitigate it. For example, Robert Hurt, who won Tom Perriello’s House seat in Virginia, says clean-energy legislation would fail to “do anything except harm people.” The tea party’s “Contract From America” calls proposed climate policies “costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation’s global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures.” Even conservatives who once argued for action on climate change, such as as Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and Rep. Mark Kirk (Ill.), have run for cover.

But it’s conservatives who should fear climate change the most. To put it simply, if you hate big government, try global warming on for size.

Many conservatives say they oppose clean-energy policies because they want to keep government off our backs. But they have it exactly backward. Doing nothing will set our country on a course toward narrower choices for businesses and individuals, along with an expanded role for government. When catastrophe strikes – and yes, the science is quite solid that it will – it will be the feds who are left conducting triage.

My economic views are progressive, and I think government has an important role in tackling big problems. But I admire many cherished conservative values, from personal responsibility to thrift to accountability, and I worry that conservatives’ lock-step posture on climate change is seriously out of step with their professed priorities. A strong defense of our national interests, rigorous cost-benefit analysis, fiscal discipline and the ability to avoid unnecessary intrusions into personal liberty will all be seriously compromised in a world marked by climate change.

In fact, far from being conservative, the Republican stance on global warming shows a stunning appetite for risk. When faced with uncertainty and the possibility of costly outcomes, smart businessmen buy insurance, reduce their downside exposure and protect their assets. When confronted with a disease outbreak of unknown proportions, front-line public health workers get busy producing vaccines, pre-positioning supplies and tracking pathogens. And when military planners assess an enemy, they get ready for a worst-case encounter.

When it comes to climate change, conservatives are doing none of this. Instead, they are recklessly betting the farm on a single, best-case scenario: That the scientific consensus about global warming will turn out to be wrong. This is bad risk management and an irresponsible way to run anything, whether a business, an economy or a planet.

Indeed, given that following the conservatives’ do-nothing policy ensures we hit the high-end of the emissions scenarios — see U.S. media largely ignores latest warning from climate scientists: “Recent observations confirm “¦ the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realised” “” 1000 ppm — then conservatives are banking that our current scientific understanding is not just slightly off, but dead wrong, including our understanding of the paleoclimate record.  See Science: CO2 levels haven’t been this high for 15 million years, when it was 5° to 10°F warmer and seas were 75 to 120 feet higher “” “We have shown that this dramatic rise in sea level is associated with an increase in CO2 levels of about 100 ppm” and  Nature Geoscience: Oceans are acidifying 10 times faster today than 55 million years ago when a mass extinction of marine species occurred and A detailed look at climate sensitivity.

The great irony is that, should their high-stakes bet prove wrong, adapting to a destabilized climate would mean a far bigger, more intrusive government than would most of the “big government” solutions to our energy problems that have been discussed so far.

Let’s start with costs. The investment needed to slow carbon pollution might total from 1 to 2 percent of global GDP each year for several decades, according to a 2006 study by the British government. This spending would pay for advanced technology, better land use and modern infrastructure. The same study put the cost of inaction – including economic harm from property damage and lost crops – at 5 to 20 percent of global GDP, lasting in perpetuity, with the risk of vastly higher catastrophic damage. You tell me which option is more fiscally responsible.

But it’s not this cost-benefit arithmetic that should most concern conservatives. Their real worry should be what it will take to manage the effects of climate change as they are felt across the economy over the course of our lifetimes.

The best science available suggests that without taking action to fundamentally change how we produce and use energy, we could see temperatures rise 9 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit over much of the United States by 2090. These estimates have sometimes been called high-end predictions, but the corresponding low-end forecasts assume we will rally as a country to shift course. That hasn’t happened, so the worst case must become our best guess.

See M.I.T. doubles its 2095 warming projection to 10°F “” with 866 ppm and Arctic warming of 20°F and Hadley Center: “Catastrophic” 5-7°C warming by 2100 on current emissions path and “The Copenhagen Diagnosis” warns “Without significant mitigation, the report says global mean warming could reach as high as 7 degrees Celsius by 2100.”

With temperature increases in this range, studies predict a permanent drought throughout the Southwest, much like the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, but this time stretching from Kansas to California. If you hate bailouts or want to end farm subsidies, this is a problem. Rising ocean acidity, meanwhile, will bring collapsing fisheries, catch restrictions – and unemployment checks. And rising sea levels will mean big bills as cash-strapped cities set about rebuilding infrastructure and repairing storm damage. With Americans in pain, the government will have to respond. And who will shoulder these new burdens? Future taxpayers.

See New study puts the ‘hell’ in Hell and High Water:  Must-read NCAR analysis warns we risk multiple, devastating global droughts even on moderate emissions path.

This is just the beginning. If conservatives’ rosy hopes prove wrong, who but the federal government will undertake the massive infrastructure projects necessary to protect high-priced real estate in Miami and Lower Manhattan from rising oceans? And what about smaller coastal cities, such as Galveston and Corpus Christi in Texas? Will it fall to FEMA or some other part of the federal government to decide who will move and when and under what circumstances? Elsewhere, with declining river flows, how will the Bureau of Reclamation go about repowering the dams of the Pacific Northwest?

See Sea levels may rise 3 times faster than IPCC estimated, could hit 6 feet by 2100.

And while we’re busy at home, who will help Pakistan or Bangladesh in its next flood? What will the government do to secure food supplies when Russia freezes wheat exports? Without glaciers, what will become of Lima, Peru, a city dependent on melting ice for drinking water? Will we let waves of “climate refugees” cross our borders?

As the physicist and White House science director John Holdren has said: “We basically have three choices: mitigation [cutting emissions], adaptation and suffering. We’re going to do some of each. The question is what the mix is going to be.”

Today’s conservatives would do well to start thinking more like military planners, reexamining the risks inherent in their strategy. If, instead, newly elected Republicans do nothing, they will doom us all to bigger government interventions and a large dose of suffering – a reckless choice that’s anything but conservative.

Bracken Hendricks is a Senior Fellow with the Center for American Progress and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Coalition for Green Capital. He is the co-author of the book Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy with U.S. Congressman Jay Inslee (WA), and was a Co-Founder and first Executive Director of the Apollo Alliance for good jobs and clean energy. Hendricks is an Advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative on technology, infrastructure and the environment, and served in the Clinton administration in the Office of the Vice President and the Department of Commerce, and has advised the Obama administration, members of congress, and other elected leaders on global warming solutions and economic policy.

38 Responses to Don’t believe in global warming? That’s not very conservative.

  1. caerbannog says:

    Slightly OT, but what the hell…

    Is the AGU getting ready to kick some *ss and take some names?

    This front-page “above the fold” article over at seems to say so:,0,545056.story

  2. Rice Dog says:

    As a conservative that is a family farmer and has innovated and invented conservation water programs, minimum use pesticide application processes and contributes professionally to several aquatic conservancy groups, it is a bit insulting and unproductive to continually paint conservatives with a broad brush. Most farmers that I know are conservatives and also very dedicated conservationists. How is the climate change movement garnering wide spectrum support with this sort of bashing?

  3. caerbannog says:

    How is the climate change movement garnering wide spectrum support with this sort of bashing?

    And pray tell, just who has been doing the lion’s share of the “bashing” for the past two decades???

  4. darth says:

    Umm Rice Dog it is because almost all of the self-proclaimed conservatives in our Congress keep spewing out global warming denialism along with the defacto conservative leaders Rush, Beck, Hannity et al. I think they are whom it is directed at.

  5. Rice Dog says:

    Then direct it at the politicians. Is it a crime to be a conservationist and a conservative?

  6. catman306 says:

    @Rice Dog,
    Thank you for your conservation efforts.
    Climate change movement? Climate is changing with or without our help. People of all political and economic stripes, urban or rural are not going to like this movement but will be forced to join at various stages of this slow motion catastrophe. Join now, or join later.

  7. Rice Dog says:

    Thank you Catman. My point is that it is very easy for any of us to look at people “hot or cold”, “black or white”, “believer or non-believer”. The reality is that people, just like the environment are not simple biologicals that behave the same all the time. One of my projects that has reduced water usage in Ca rice by 25% has also reduced methane emmisions by 90%. This is done by establishing the rice crop under upland conditions. When a field is flooded, it produces methane which is 22 times more greenhouse gas producing than carbon dioxide. Growers are taking notice of this kind of progressive change that can still produce food, reduce pesticide use and help reduce greenhouse gases. Thank you for your productive tone Catman!

  8. Wit's End says:

    Rice Dog, welcome to the discussion. Are you and other farmers aware of the fact that pollution from burning fossil fuels is diminishing your crop yields? The EPA knows it, so does the US Dept. of Agriculture. It’s on their own websites! But they don’t highlight that knowledge because it is politically unpopular – the only remedy is to stop burning fuels and switch to clean energy sources.

    Of course, the coal and oil industries don’t like that notion, because their profits will suffer – and they have been waging an even more effective campaign that the tobacco companies about the link to cancer, and links to climate change, about the impacts of ozone on crops, forests, and all other plants.

    Here’s a link to a NASA report about the $2 Billion annual yield loss from exposure to ozone, in soybeans alone:

    The effects of ozone causing the collapse of the ecosystem are going to cause mass starvation long before the catastrophic effects of violent weather, sea level rise, and unbearable heat accumulate enough to destroy human civilization, let alone the other millions of species with whom we share this planet.

    This should totally be a CONSERVATIVE issue.

    Visit the blog for a long list of published scientific research about the effects of ozone on plant life.

  9. Mike says:

    Conservatives are not against big government. They hope to use crises to create a more centralize State. They did this after 9/11. They would use catastrophic climate change as an excuse for a new totalitarian State.

    I am not talking about the poor saps wearing triangular hats. I am talking about the power brokers who use them.

  10. Rice Dog says:

    Great Advice, Wit’s End. I will follow up with the referenced sites.
    No. No one is talking about fossil fuels and tractor work. I guess the question is; what can do the heavy load work and not be conventional fuel?

  11. GFW says:

    Liquid fuels will probably be necessary for heavy machinery (agricultural or construction) as well as for airplanes. *But* if we can change most automobiles, trains, and buildings to renewably-generated electricity and/or direct renewable power (e.g. solar hot water) then we’ll have plenty of breathing room to burn *some* liquids for the heavy machinery. (And a lot of even those liquids could be bio-sourced.)

    As for “conservative-bashing” on global warming … I’m sorry, but it’s warranted. The self-identified conservative who is also a climate hawk is a very rare species. Your conservative “brand” is owned by politicians like Boehner and media figures like Limbaugh who completely reject honest science on the topic. Of course as this editorial points out, they aren’t conservatives by the previously accepted definition of the term, but they nonetheless own the brand. I’d suggest that climate hawks who have previously voted Republican might want to sit down and dispassionately compare the practical effects of electing Dems vs Reps over the past 20 years or so – what each really *did* as opposed to what they said they’d do, or what the other party said they’d do. Then ask yourself if brand loyalty is worth being on the wrong side of the biggest issue since slavery.

    BTW Rice Dog, if you farm brown basmati in California, I may have bought your product. :-)

  12. Paulm says:

    But it’s conservatives who should fear climate change the most.
    Enviromenalist are conservative. They want to preserve the environment.

    The GOP of today seem to be sheep in wolves clothing. They are driven by greed. It’s ok for them to be unregulated when the can make a buck off of someone, but the minute they fail ie banks,GM etc then everyone else pays.

    With climate change however it’s game end not end game.

  13. with the doves says:

    “Conservative” Republicans who hold elective office are mostly in denial about climate change. Polls show that voters who ID themselves as “conservative” vote largely Republican, thus supporting climate change denial. So targeting “conservatives” here is warranted IMO.

    I would love to see real conservatives in action. Unfortunately the word has come to mean people who want low taxes, big military, unbalanced budgets, decreased government regulation of finance and industry, “free” markets, and a lot of other stuff. Also, they pooh-pooh science of evolution and climate, the first because it alarms part of their base, Christian fundamentalists, and the second because it threatens decreased profitability for their funders in the fossil fuel industry.

  14. Colorado Bob says:

    November 7, 2010, 7:13 pm
    Scientists Join Forces in a Hostile Climate

    They’re not going to take it.

  15. Prokaryotes says:

    “… the question is; what can do the heavy load work and not be conventional fuel?”

    Ford Will Employ Electric Tractors at Assembly Plant
    But when it comes down to the manufacturing process, building a car that runs on electricity isn’t enough. You’ve got to green the building process to in every way possible.

    So how much of an impact can an electric yard tractor make?

    Lest you think I mean the kind you mow with, these tractors are Balqon XE-20 zero-emission yard tractors. The 124 kWhr battery can haul up to 90,000 pounds for 50 miles. Perfect for moving around loads of unfinished chassis and thousands of tires. Hell, why not just throw a few full size trucks on the trailer?

    You can move a helluva lot of weight with the 230 volt, 200 horsepower engine, though the top speed is limited to just 25 mph. Unloaded, these suckers can go over 90 miles on a charge, and Bolqon had developed a charging system that lets four of them get juiced at once. All in all, pretty impressive.

  16. Mike Roddy says:

    Excellent piece, Bracken. The 10f temperature increase by 2100 is in the center of probability bands now, based on BAU and projected emissions through 2030 or so- and may be on the low side. If China and India keep furiously building coal plants, 10f is on the low end, meaning catastrophe. We’d better deal with it, in a much bigger platform than a Post OpEd. The Republicans in DC won’t read it, and the Democrats won’t act on the truth and logic of your editorial.

    I’m really glad scientists are waking up and preparing to fight back, and thanks, caerbannog- not OT at all. Mandia, Abraham, and Trenberth will be great advocates. I hope they go to DC and rip Issa and Barton 4″ i.d. new ones.

    As for Rice Dog- nice try. If you are going to identify yourself as a conservative with a conscience, you have no choice but to abandon the Republican Party. Denial and obstruction of anything having to do with global warming is now their official policy position. Or maybe you didn’t notice the last session of the Senate. Go to Wattsupwiththat and try to persuade your fellow Republicans there (good luck with that!).

    There is really only one RP outlier, and Schwarzenegger could lead here. If he does, I will follow.

  17. Paulm says:

    The Real McCoy is arriving…

    Weather disturbances in the form of drought, wet springs, flooding and frosts have been more evident this year than any other year I can recall,” Mistry’s text said.

    Mistry, who has been in the industry for more than 30 years, correctly predicted in March that palm oil would exceed 3,000 ringgit after June on lower oil palm yields, and then test 3,200 ringgit

  18. UnReal2r says:

    Unfortunately, today’s conservatives aren’t really conservative.

    Conservatism was hijacked by Falwell and Reed and other theocrats in the 70s and has been sliding toward rampant wingnuttery ever since.

    (Remember what Goldwater said about Falwell: “I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.”)

    By today’s pseudo-conservative standards, Eisenhower would be mocked as a Socialist or Marxist or Nazi for championing the Interstate Highway System and playing golf on Sunday.

  19. Wonhyo says:

    caerbannog says @ #1: “[Are climate scientists] getting ready to kick some *ss and take some names?… This front-page “above the fold” article over at seems to say so: news/ nationworld/ nation/ la-na-climate-scientists-20101108,0,545056.story”

    Perhaps climate scientists (as a whole) will finally stand and fight the climate deniers. It won’t matter if the Right Wing media marginalizes them and the Left Wing media obfuscates the issue with false balance, as is the norm.

    It took several decades to overcome the Right Wing obfuscation of the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. On that issue, we had all the time in the world. With climate change, we don’t have the luxury of time.

  20. William T says:

    RiceDog – I don’t think the author was writing about conservatives like you – he was saying that the “faux” conservatives actually should be more like you in “conserving” things instead of gambling the climate on their belief that climate science is a fraud.

  21. A face in the clouds says:

    And from the heavens there came a great shout, trumpets of sneezing and thunderous coughing. The sputum and disgorgement of the Lord lay over the land.

    Then there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

    Then an hour.

    Then two hours.

    Then three hours…….

  22. Peter M says:

    I noticed over at that the amount of C02 as measured by the NOAA at Mauna Loa in HI- for October 2010 was 387.18- compared to October 2009 of 384.86- this is a rise of nearly 3ppmv a year- it seems C02 is rising even more rapidly then we thought- seems likely with this news, its not out of the question to see 400ppm perhaps as early as the Spring of 2014.

    Can conservatives understand they are indeed playing with fire? This is certainly new and troubling information? 3PPMV a year is the highest I have seen measured -ever.

    Have we entered into a more gloomy scenario then we thought?- This rapid rise is higher then what Dr. Romm, Dr. Hansen or the IPCC predicted in the first year of this decade.

  23. peter whitehead says:

    Ricedog- you are a hero. One day the political right will pay a high price for falling for climate denial. It’s not a political issue.

    For example conservatives may be against abortion. Abortion is a political issue – you can be for it, against it, accept in some cases etc. There is, however, no point in claiming abortion is impossible.

    This is the position conservative politicians are creating for themselves on climate – they are simply wrong and talking nonsense. When this becomes obvious, they will suffer for it and the whole conservative agenda will suffer as well.

    If conservatives want to have a place in future politics, they need to get these deniers out of their parties quickly.

  24. David Smith says:

    Sometimes I wonder if global warming denial by “conservatives” is a sort of sideshow event orchestrated by activist dirty energy interests to obscure the real issue. An issue that is not really defensible in our free market capitalist system. As we become aware of the damage caused by dirty energy it is clear that they no longer serve an acceptable positive roll in our economy. The cost is too great. The damage caused may be irreparable. Under normal free market circumstances such companies would fail and perish. Because these particular companies are some of the most powerful companies in the world they choose to use their extensive resources to extend their power and financial position, artificially.

    They poke the scientists and academia who get all riled up and they start yelling and at the same time go to their base and rile them as well with stories of elitist conspiracies taking their liberties and then sit back and watch the fun, thus, totally obscuring the actual risks and dangers.

    Acceptance of climate science may not be the real issue. Personal power enhanced by big corporations may be the real issue; corporations (people) fighting for their power while not allowing their companies to change and remain useful to society. By fighting their smoke screen of global warming denial with the truth about global warming we play the role they want us to play, ignoring the real problem they are trying to solve. Global warming damage is collateral damage (not important) to them.

    What if this observation is correct? How would we act differently in our efforts to restore global climate stability?

  25. Nick Palmer says:

    I think David Smith (comment 24) is right on the nail. Powerful people, so keen to hang on to their power that they ignore or do not see the validity of the consequences that their clinging on to power will bring, are the problem.

    On a different (and only slightly tongue in cheek) tack, if, God help the world, the pseudo-conservative Republicans end up winning the next election, I think we ought to prepare in advance. In a bizarre case of life imitating Hollywood art, we all have to encourage Arnie to run for President right now to save the world!

  26. Nick Palmer says:

    should have been comment 26…

  27. Is there a means to make those who really need to read and understand this, do so? How will this information be “force-fed” to those who just don’t want to take this medicine?

    When one of those “conservatives” says, that he doesn’t “see” any sign of global warming, I always envision him or her to have their eyes tightly shut – how else could they not “see” what is going on? Likewise, they have their ears closed to all but “faux-news” to avoid hearing what climate scientists tell us. Unfortunatly, they don’t also keep their mouths shut but instead shout out “hoax” and long-debunked nonsense as loud as possible.

  28. Nick Palmer says:

    I followed Lou Grinzo’s “site pimping” in post 13 and was inspired to write the following comment there and, after I had finished, I thought it could do with a wider readership. Getting through to ordinary voters by letting them decide who it is riskier to believe – the science or the anti science (non-specialists find it very hard to know who to believe…) – is key to the politics.
    Link to comment

    Text of comment:

    Finally the climate blogosphere seems to be getting that the key to people wising up is risk assessment. The majority are never going to understand enough of the science to judge which of the two sides spouting “sciency” speak is legit.

    What is needed is for people to look at the consequences if one or the other side is wrong. This is WAAAY easier for non-specialists to do than trying to judge who is right. Step forward Greg Craven and his magnificent (and almost overlooked) book – “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?” Greg shows clearly how the ordinary Joe can make a firm and sensible assessment of the risks and consequences using no more than the same ability he would use to decide whether having car or house insurance was a sensible expenditure.

    Disclosure: I’ve got no commercial interest but I did help with the crowd sourcing that Greg used to complete the book on time, and maybe one or two of my ideas and help with research made it into the book too…

    Here’s a few plaudits that the book gained:

    “…superbly crafted…. A must read.” -Gen. Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.)

    “This book trumps most of our accounts of the global warming crisis.” –author Bill McKibben

    “Al Gore should share his Nobel peace prize.” -The “New Scientist”

    “This is a tremendous book and well worth anyone’s time to read…. You’re in for a treat—Craven is funny as well as exceptionally clear, and wise.” –Kim Stanley Robinson, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of the Mars Trilogy and Science in the Capital

    “This is a terrifically thoughtful book…. Cravens book shines an illuminating floodlight on how we think about global warming.”
    –Ross Gelbspan, author, “The Heat Is On” and “Boiling Point”

  29. cyclonebuster says:

    I am a conservative. However, my ” Underwater Suspension Tunnels” were designed to reverse global warming and to restore our climate to pre-industrial revolution temperatures! Ya’ll should do a blog about them here!

  30. Russell says:

    Don’t believe in citing conservative critiques of Republican climate policy?

    That’s not very progressive , Mr. Hendricks:

    [JR: Russell: You can’t expect people to find a needle in a haystack, nor can one credit the 1-in-1000 such post.]

  31. catman306 says:

    Arnie’s next ‘Total Recall, Earth’ should be all about relearning the warnings about chemical pollution, industrial pollution, automotive pollution, acid rain, ground level ozone, heavy metals, radioactivity, environmental integrity, ect. that we seemed to have forgotten during the past 20 years, and then DOING something to limit them. In the suspenseful conclusion he actually does save the world. But it’s only Hollywood.

  32. Prokaryotes says:

    cyclonebuster, have a look

    Biological Ocean Sequestration of CO2 Using Atmocean Upwelling

  33. David B. Benson says:

    Rice Dog — There are actual conservatives and then there are the Mad Hatters who have absconded with the label.

  34. John B. Hodges says:

    Minor FYI point: Schwartzenegger is not eligible to be President, because he is not a native-born American. (Constitutional requirement.) He was, AFAIK, born in Austria. No doubt there is much he could do for the cause in other ways.

    I don’t know if growing rice ever involves ploughing a field; I wonder if USA farmers are making any move to start using biochar as a soil amendment?

  35. Jeffersonian says:

    This post argues that conservatives don’t understand the long term results of their actions? Conservatism today is so extremely short-sighted, how could it possibly matter?

    Will the Iraq war put us way in the hole years from now when he have to pay for the cost plus the cost of 8 years of ignored infrastructure plus 8 years of current infrastructure on top of the costs of modernizing our global competitiveness, plus fixing education and health care? Who cares what happens a few years down the road! Will ignoring all the indicators of rapid climate change cost us more down the road? Who cares! If you’re a conservative, you just worry about the fiscal year and immediate returns.