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thorninmud's avatar

Why has environmentalism become associated almost exclusively with liberalism?

Asked by thorninmud (20488points) January 28th, 2015

Is there something about conservatism that is inherently incompatible with environmentalism? Would it be possible to be both a conservative and a staunch environmentalist? I can’t think of any examples, not recent ones anyway. If you hear someone expressing concerns about the environment, would you assume they’re a liberal?

Or is it just that conservatives don’t think that government should have a role in environmental regulation? Are market forces supposed to be enough to ensure sustainability and ecological health?

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86 Answers

janbb's avatar

Yes, it doesn’t make sense. Looking back to Teddy Roosevelt who was a Republican and a staunch conservationist, one can wonder about where that tradition went. I can only think that for all their talk about preserving family values and a return to the greatness of America, modern conservatives see their interests largely aligned with the interests of big business whose goal it is to make money at all costs. The Keystone pipeline will do nothing for this country and yet they want to ram it (literally) through.

rojo's avatar

My initial response was that it probably had something to do with believing that God gave humans dominion over the earth and that this had been interpreted to mean that we, as humans, can therefore do whatever we want to with it without regard for the health and well being of anything other than ourselves. The ends (making our life easier/better) justify the means type of argument.
Searching further, I found this interesting article Why Do Conservatives Hate Environmentalism? By Rod Dreher • March 14, 2014, which offers a little insight.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Good observation to the OP.

I think that there are three related factors:

1 – environmental repair means some changes to lifestyle (both personal, or civilization at large) and conservatives don’t like change. (Hence the name conservative). They like continuity and predictability. So environmentalism, when acted upon, is a threat to their placid conservative, non-threatening lives. And so they react negatively.

2 – a second and uglier reason is that, at least in the last 40 years, if a democrat (or liberal) says something, the conservatives are viscerally against it – no matter how much it makes sense, no matter the damage to people and the planet – if a liberal says YES then a conservative automatically says NO.

3 – finally, it all comes to money. Cleaning or retaining the environment has a cost. (so does NOT doing anything, but the conservatives don’t recognize that).. And the current right wing mantra is “the government has no role – the free market will take care” – but as we have seen, the free market has no interest in cleaning the environment.

So if the government (writ large) is going to care for the environment, the money comes from taxes – and as we all know, taxes is a swear word.

So, @thorninmud – it is a combination of all three factors that have put the environment and the conservatives on opposite sides,

kritiper's avatar

Liberals tend to be more educated, are smarter environment-wise, and more realistic when it comes to actual scientific events and conditions. Conservatives tend to be more content to ignore science for the sake of their bank accounts and push on believing that God planned it that way and that God will fix it if push actually comes to shove.

dxs's avatar

My great uncle considers himself conservative (I would, too), and he said the one thing he agrees with with the “liberals” is the environment. But, he works at a National Forest, so you can see it relates to him somehow. Perhaps it has to do with how much the issue directly relates to the person.

Jaxk's avatar

Environmental fanaticism has become exclusively associated with liberalism. Conservatives see most issues on a cost/benefit basis. There is an issue with how much legislation should be allowed from an unelected bureaucratic agency. The Keystone Pipeline is a fair example. The fanatical environmental groups are against any form of oil use. Therefore any drilling or oil exploration will be opposed vehemently. Keystone is a victim of that mindset, as is ANWAR. Prudhoe Bay was delayed until the oil embargo in the 70s forced a rethinking of that policy. Liberals seem to think that if we can make oil expensive, if we can make oil scarce, if we can make inaccessible, somehow we will find an alternative. They don’t know how this will happen but they’re convinced it will. With that mindset, they oppose any new oil drilling, any new method of extraction, and any new area that may be opened to oil exploration. The mantra is always save the environment whether or not there is any issue. In actuality it is not the environment they’re trying to save but rather a simple opposition to oil that they can’t control.

thorninmud's avatar

@Jaxk How do you understand the liberal opposition to oil as fuel? Where do you think that comes from?

longgone's avatar

This is an interesting question. I think one relevant aspect may be the novelty of environmentalism. Not too long ago, the general public simply did not know about environmental problems.

The people who resist new ideas are, by definition, those who vote conservatively.

janbb's avatar

@longgone It really isn’t novel. People in America have been talking about preservation since the 1900s.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Conservation was the reason Ansel Adams took the pics of the American West in the 20’s.

Jaxk's avatar

@thorninmud – I’m not sure what you’re asking here but I’ll take a stab at it and if I miss your point let me know. Right or wrong our economy is built on oil and we don’t have a viable alternative. Wind and solar simply won’t power your car nor will they replace the coal generators for electricity. Natural gas could be a viable alternative for coal generators but liberals are against Fracking so that also becomes difficult. We hear a lot of noise about biofuels but nothing is currently viable. So I don’t see anything currently available to replace oil as a fuel for transportation. Neither, as far as I can tell, do the liberals.

Liberals use the Global Warming mantra to support their hatred of oil. So even without an alternative, they would simply let the economy shut down rather than allow oil usage. Conservatives, such as myself, believe that the best way to solve the problem is to have a thriving economy. That provides money and incentive to do so. Private industry can and will invest when the economy is growing and long term investment is profitable. Of course liberals believe that the government can do the investing and squeeze private industry for the money. Unfortunately they are also squeezing private industry with regulations that are crippling. What liberals will never admit is that when private industry is growing, the economy is growing. When the economy is growing, innovation will provide answers.

Cruiser's avatar

Conservatives are against the big government environmental policies that have focused on empowering the federal government to force people to improve the environment. This has resulted in rules and regulations that everyone has an incentive to violate, manipulate, and distort. The conservatives in this country have learned that the command-and-control approach of Washington DC to solving environmental problems causes more problems than it solves.

Plus these regulations then put American companies at a huge disadvantage over other countries with little to no regulation. China I think we all know is one of the big offenders here and global warming/climate change concerns and the policies the Feds are enacting to address this concerns will have little to no effect on global warming/climate change unless all countries are on board. In the meantime our ability to compete on the global stage is hampered by all these regulations. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost because of this and just one of the many other reasons conservatives oppose many not all of the environmental regulations.

Coloma's avatar

Personally I think the whole conservative/liberal fish tank comes personalty theory and temperament. SJ types ( sensor/judgers) fall into the “duty” full filler category. They make up most of our military, political and educational pool. These types are all about blind adherence to tradition, order, often suffer from paranoid disorders and are very change aversive.

The NT types ( intuitive thinkers ) known as the ( Inventor ) personalities and the P’s ( perceiving ) types are the inventors & innovators, creatives, free thinking non-conformists that embrace change are of an entrepreneurish nature. These are the big picture thinks vs. the here and now thinking style of the SJ temperament.
This is really the underlying issue and cause of the never ending coil of the liberal/conservative rope.

It makes sense that the more liberal, open minded, big picture personalities would take a more liberal rather than conservative approach to many issues.
I’m a female ENTP and am very big on environmental issues, minus fanaticism, and my more conservative friends drive me nuts with their limited vision and stubborn refusal to even remotely examine a different perspective at times. It’s all about how they are effected right now, vs. big picture thinking.

janbb's avatar

@Cruiser That would make more sense if their philosophy was consistent. If the Conservatives feel that government shouldn’t command and control and impose rules and regs, why do they feel they can control what a woman can do with her own body or who can marry whom – surely issues that have less of an impact on the greater good?

Cruiser's avatar

@janbb that is mixing eggs and oranges of two completely separate ideologies. And I would like to point out that conservatives are not wholly wanting to “control” what a woman can or cannot do with their body, they are simply against the Federal Government funding programs that allow or not allow what a woman can or cannot do with their body. They firmly believe decisions on these isues should be left to the individual States to decide these things.

thorninmud's avatar

@Jaxk Thanks. It sounds like you think that liberals would end oil/fossil fuel usage immediately if they could, without having an alternative in place. I can understand why that would be an alarming scenario, but I can’t see any evidence of that. Am I missing something?

Liberals, on the other hand, seem to think that left on their own conservatives would never do anything to end fossil fuel dependence as long as there was money to be made from it. And that it’s the fact that there’s money to be made from it that keeps them from accepting the downside of fossil fuel use. Does that strike you as nonsense?

Strauss's avatar

You might as well ask why—-Saint—- President Reagan dismantled the solar panels that President Carter had installed on the roof of the White House!

ucme's avatar

Lots of labels in this question.

Jaxk's avatar

@thorninmud – Actually I think your post sums up what both sides believe about the other. The truth is I believe that liberals would shut down oil if they could with or without an alternative. The case I hear is that a replacement will not be found until oil is gone. Therefore shut down the oil or make it so expensive that nobody can use it and magically we’ll find an alternative. Unfortunately, I don’t believe in magic.

Let me provide an example of what I mean. During the crash of 2008, oil prices went over $4. Personally I think that had a great deal to do with the depth and severity of the recession. Nonetheless liberals were calling for raising the gas tax (still are) to drive down usage. Hundreds of $billions were shipped overseas further crippling our economy and still liberals fought any effort to find new reserves. Wind and solar were touted as the solution even though they had nothing to do with oil usage. They replace coal not oil and they are simply not capable of replacing even that. I can’t come to any other conclusion than liberals wanted oil shut down with no replacement in sight. Can you?

thorninmud's avatar

@Jaxk Well, here’s how I understand that:

People (and corporations) tend to make decisions that are in their short-term economic self-interest. Given a choice between the present state of their pocketbook and an abstraction such as the environment of future generations, the pocketbook generally wins.

Ideally, a government ought to have an eye on the long-term. If it’s necessary to change behaviors that have serious long-term consequences, you’re probably not going to get much mileage out of making the long-term case. You’re better off changing the variables in a way that shifts the way the short-term economic decisions are likely to fall.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@thorninmud – I agree with your second paragraph in the response above.

It leaves me with one question: How?

thorninmud's avatar

@elbanditoroso Yeah, big question, because it’s never a good political strategy to inflict short-term pain for long-term benefit. Ideally, you’d change the political calculation as well, but that’s nearly impossible. That’s why, to a point made by @Jaxk in his first post, these policy decisions are often left to “unelected bureaucratic agencies”, because they don’t have to pander to what’s politically expedient in the short-term.

jerv's avatar

My take is simply that environmentalism is often at odds with the Conservative ideology of deregulation, while also making it more costly to do business since it’s cheaper to do things without regard to consequences than it is to do things in a non-harmful way. That combination of cost and regulation is anathema to them, while (according to Conservatives) Liberals (or, truth be told, anyone who disagrees with them) want to make business as expensive and heavily regulated as humanly possible.
In other words, I’m not sure about environmentalism being seen as a “Liberal” position so much as Conservatives being so anti-Liberal that they wind up taking anti-environment stances just to be difficult.

@Jaxk If not for the fact that we already have some proven alternatives, and others that show enough promise to be worth some R&D, I would agree with you. But since you fail to even see how reducing oil used for electricity means more oil available for transportation, I’m not sure we can start to get into things like how current electric cars are more than capable of meeting the needs of most US drivers (including ranges of at least double what most people drive in a day) or even that electric cars outnumbered gas ones. Once again, I think you are intelligent enough to get it but merely refuse to due to ideology.
If you are going to believe that, then I think it entirely fair to conclude that Conservatives seek to continue our reliance on oil for as long as possible due to large kickbacks from the oil companies. The “logic” is just as sound, and there are plenty of financial records to corroborate that, so there is at least as much truth to it as your assertion that Liberals are that anti-oil.

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser Now you know why I think it would be best if business were better at self-regulating. I’m pretty sure that they could do a better (and cheaper) job of keeping things clean if they did so on their own recognizance rather than due to government regulation. The fact that government has to step in tells me that someone screwed up.

Jaxk's avatar

@thorninmud – Governments just like corporations need to keep an eye on both short and long term issues.

@jerv – Your argument is a typical liberal talking point and completely erroneous. We do not use oil to generate electricity. In 2013, energy sources and percent share of total electricity generation were:
• Coal 39%
• Natural Gas 27%
• Nuclear 19%
• Hydropower 7%
• Other Renewable 6% • Biomass 1.48%
• Geothermal 0.41%
• Solar 0.23%
• Wind 4.13%

• Petroleum 1%
• Other Gases < 1%

The 1% we use is mostly backup generators. Electric cars may someday be feasible but as of now they are at best a novelty. The rest of your points are the same old ‘conservatives are bad’ talking points that get us nowhere.

Cruiser's avatar

@jerv I have always known this and voiced my opinion on this subject.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Ah yes. Once again the eternal argument that “what’s good for General Motors MUST be good for the country”. I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to the champions of corporate conservatism bray this sort of nonsense, and without missing a breath then insist that the only obligation a corporation has to the overall society is to maximize returns to shareholders. Corporations will ALWAYS resist any and EVERY check to maximizing profits, and no check or regulation is to go unchallenged or resisted REGARDLESS of its logic or necessity. The agonizing groans that ANY environmental considerations are tantamount to criminal restraint of trade are laughable on their face. Those who would prefer to believe that those “radical” environmentalists are somehow “making up” the environmental threats and consequences that currently plague the shit out of us are NEVER prepared to answer the simple questions such as “just how much crap can be spewed into the air and yet allow the postman enough breath to deliver those dividend checks?” The brake MUST be applied on corporations and with as heavy a foot as can be managed. Capitalism, like greed will do just fine, and there really is no other alternative. Their defense that “it won’t work” has proven wrong nearly every time. The elimination of smog in Los Angeles as well as acid rain in the East should more than demonstrate the point.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk Seeing how many of your points are “Liberals are stupid”, I fail to see the difference there… except that I am being facetious while your derision seems heartfelt.
Note that other (more progressive) nations have different percentages though. And given how many homes are heated and/or get hot water with propane (I’m so used to paying a propane bill that I lump it in with electricity in my household budget; it is an energy expense), I think there is some room for things like solar; at least enough to warrant research.
As for electric cars being a novelty, you just proved that you haven’t been up with technology, or the history. Setting aside the patent encumbrance on NiMH batteries after Chevron got ahold of the right and disassembles the plants, forcing EV makers to go with less mature, more expensive Lithium packs, we’ve still gotten back to where a reasonably-priced EV can do what needs to be done, just as they did over a century ago when they outnumbered gas-burners almost 2-to-1. With the Tesla Model S capable of ~300-mile range (comparable to most gassers) and 90-second battery swaps, I’d say that they are more feasible than you’d admit.

@Cruiser Sadly, the downside of corporations being people is that many people are inherently selfish assholes.

josie's avatar

Environmentalism is to the environment as Islamism is to Islam.

Environmentalism is a part of the larger movement that one might call “the anti-industrial revolution” and it is indeed a “Leftist” movement.

On the other hand I can’t think of any reasonable person who wants to drink dirty water and breath dirty air.

jerv's avatar

@josie Quite so.

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv – Sounds like an electric car is in your future. Wake me when the chicken shit cars are available.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk I have yet to see a shit-powered car do a ¼-mile in 10.2 seconds. The vehicle you see there is a street-legal home conversion; a daily-driver with a range of ~100miles built for less than the price of many new cars.

flutherother's avatar

Conservatives look on ‘the market’ in much the same way as environmentalists look on ‘the environment’. It is something precious, that shouldn’t be tampered with as it is the reality in which they live. I think they are deluded.

thorninmud's avatar

@josie What is it about industry that liberals are against, would you say?

Cruiser's avatar

The problem I see is Democrats are great at championing a cause and even claiming to have the answer to world issue like climate change, green house gasses and global warming. Then we have Obama touring solar manufactures and posing next to electric cars but not solving the problems associated with their answers. Solar and wind are not reliable sources of power and the cost to build the infrastructure, maintain and operate them is near prohibitive and the bigger evil of these technologies is their carbon footprint is double and triple that of fossil fuels. Then the issue plaguing electric cars is batteries. The typical lithium they currently use don’t last long and the disposal/recycle issue has not been thoroughly thought through. Capacitor batteries recharge in minutes but they discharge too quickly to be practical for cars. Nano carbontube batteries hold promise but are at the moment way too fragile.

So I say this is not a Republicans are selfish corporate warriors waging war on the environment. Politicians do what their donors and votors expect them to do and the divide between Republicans and Democrats is really a people problem and with most ordinary people I know is they have little to no clue or grasp of the real issues in and around new technologies and the issues that drive environmental decisions and policies.

To me the bigger issue is education of our kids. There has been very little support for higher education in this country and as a result we not only have a massive deficiency of science and technology graduates and we import these workers from other countries, we also wind up as a result….a deficiency of innovators who in years gone by made by companies like Xerox, Bell Labs, GE, and even Microsoft kept America as the worlds leader in new technologies and now we have lapped by counties like Japan and China. THe big 3 went down because they did not innovate and got creamed by the imports.

Time for people and this country to smarten up to the real problems we face not the talking point BS that politicians running for re-election spew at us.

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv – Very impressive and I’ll consider buying one when they come with a bracket to hold my golf clubs.

Coloma's avatar

I constantly hear conservatives talking about “hippie” liberals. Just the other day a friend of mine was talking about the Silicon Valley “hippies” that refuse to vaccinate their kids.
I’m a bohemian/hippie type gal and I associate liberal “hippie” with nature nut, ecology minded, conservation minded earth loving people. I find the whole “hippie liberal” label to be insulting as hell.

Trust me, being a “hippie” country girl that has dealt with the influx of wealthy conservative suburbanites moving to my area from the San Francisco bay and L.A. areas. over the years and freaking out if they see a Raccoon or a rattlesnake, wanting to kill everything that walks across their property and being OCD about cutting trees and clearing their properties for a better “distal view”...well….fuck off. lol
If you don’t want to live WITH nature go back to your condos and quit trying to “manicure” wild areas and eradicate the wild life because you know, GOD FORBID, there was a Woodpecker pecking on the side of your house.
You wouldn’t believe the stories I could tell. haha

Better a “hippie liberal” conservationist than a kill, plow over, cut down, control freak conservative.

josie's avatar

@thorninmud
They are against industry, because when human beings advanced beyond Agrarian economies, and into industrial economy, it gave the ingenious and the non risk-averse a distinct advantage. They could create wealth without toiling in the fields. It allowed a separation of the cult of muscle, and the cult of the mind.

Most leftists are materialists.

Not material consumerists, as in they are seduced by consumer goods, but materialists as in they think human beings have no real mind, but are only products of conditioning. Like rats in a Skinner box. The idea that there may be ingenious, rational and calculating humans is threatening to them. Thus they hate free market based industry beyond simple and elemental relationships with the Earth. It allows some gifted humans to control wealth based on their minds, instead of having everybody be laboring drones in the hive.

Rather than have individuals set out to determine their own destiny, they want to inhibit their activities, in case they do better than the average member of the ant hill. It is why Pol Pot killed everybody he could get his hands on who had any kind of education. He wanted everybody to be collective farmers. That way, nobody could get ahead (exept Pol Pot).

Thus, Environmentalists want to close down all the factories. Not to clean the air or water like they say, but to eliminate the opportunity to let some people use their minds and the economies of scale to produce wealth at a different level than the human beasts of burden.

Coloma's avatar

@josie Haha really? I don’t want to close down factories to prevent people from using their minds, what kind of nonsense is that?
I want less pollution and toxicity in the environment. Don’t speak for me please, I can do that for myself. Blanket statements are never an accurate reflection of an entire group, culture, gender, on and on.

josie's avatar

@Coloma
Thus you are not a true Environmentalist. You are simply somebody who wants to make sure somebody else is not dumping shit into the water or the air and not telling you about it.

Which means you are no different than me.

So why the indignant lecture?

majorrich's avatar

Coming into this dicey conversation (glad it’s in social) I would be interested in seeing how much fuel and pollutants are created making electric cars and batteries as opposed to my still driving a 35 year old diesel. Is the equivalent savings on my not buying new technology offset by the energy and bad stuff of buying a new car? Of that I am curious. It wont make me sell the ol’ Benz though.

jerv's avatar

@josie Because there are plenty of people that call anyone less conservative than Ted Cruz a Socialist, Communist, Hippie, and/or Liberal in the same way that one may call someone an idiot, moron, traitor, douchebag, or asshole. After a few hundred such exposures, it’s a bit hard to remain civil, especially with those who prefer to be condescending than constructive.

@Cruiser The fact that our tuitions have skyrocketed while those stuck in the 1960s insist that higher education is key to getting out of poverty (rather than a quick way to get into it) put higher education further and further out of reach for most people mean that we’ll get at least one of three things; uneducated voters, oligarchy, or revolt.
Regarding EV batteries, NiMH had decent capacity (especially for it’s cost) and tended to last a long time without the safety issues or expense of Lithium batteries. A Rav4EV could easily have it’s pack last 10 years/150k miles. Why don’t we use NiMH? Chevron.

@majorrich Convert it to vegetable oil. Older diesels are easy to convert.

Coloma's avatar

@josie You’re making a lot of ass-umptions. I have lived on rural properties in the high Sierra Nevada foothills for 23 years. Yes, I am an environmentalist. I use no pesticides or herbicides on my properties, recycle almost everything, I do not hunt and do not support sport hunting.

I belong to the river conservancy and participate in river clean ups in my awesome mountain zone and spent years volunteering for my local wild life rescue group taking in sick and injured waterfowl which are one of my passions. I grow a lot of my own food, veggie gardens, and we have fruit and olive orchards here at the ranch, along with all kinds of rescue farm animals, geese, ducks, donkeys, horses, chickens. I’m a HANDS ON conservationist and steward of my little green acres.

Allow me to serve you up a hefty portion of humble pie. Ya know, before you go off on a tangent it is always in ones best interest to ASK direct questions.
Making ass-umptions does not make an ass out of you and me, it only makes an ass out of you.

Cruiser's avatar

@jerv I respect most of your questions and comments and it would help if you based your comment not just on the talking points that consume your POV and take a moment to read others comments especially the one you address in your comments. I spoke to the lack of support for higher education and that would encompass the points I then made. We will never be able to foot the bill for those that do not have the money, drive, initiative to excel in the pre college level. Poor people all the time get free ride scholarships to higher education and that is not my point….removing quality teachers, support and curriculum that challenges students as well as teachers and leaders that inspire kids to go all out in order to excel and compete with their international counterparts is what IMO is lacking and needs improvement and the leadership that impresses this urgent need for quality and abundant higher education on our society so we can again lead in technological innovations.

longgone's avatar

@janbb In that case, thanks for teaching me something new! That is a lot earlier than I would have imagined.

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser Truth is that I see a lot of factors in play here; enough that my thoughts are less of a line (or even tree) and more of a spiderweb of interrelated elements. Enough to make it difficult to sort through and pick which thoughts to even try to put into words, a task that isn’t really all taht eeasy for me.
Most of my thoughts on this, many of the comments thus far, and similar conversations in the past boil down to various flaws in our society, it’s structure, and it’s priorities. A few comments here have addressed effects or intermediary causes, but haven’t actually gotten to the root cause.
What is it about our society that is making it malfunction in the spectacular ways it does? We have the money to actually fund a lot of things, but look where that money goes, and look at what gets massively funded. Whether that is a reflection of our cultures priorities or merely what we voters allow government to do with out money out of apathy and/or ignorance, I cannot say, but the issue sure as hell isn’t lack of funding; DC seems to always find a few trillion for whatever they deem important.
As for the drive and initiative to excel, that has gone down as upward mobility has gotten harder, but also plays back into the character of our society. Education plays a role here, but I see it not as a cause, but as a (or rather, another) symptom of a deeper systemic flaw, along with some signs of anti-intellectualism.
Think, what is it that has caused the average person to either become demoralized or pick a flavor of Kool-aid and drink deeply? What is it that took our once great nation and turned it into a highly polarized, nearly dysfunctional entity that is torn between returning to the past (our glory days) and leading the way to the future? Until we answer that and deal with it, we won’t regain our edge in innovation, nor will we retain what few advantages we still have for very long.

I do agree with you that we do have an urgent need for better and more available education than we have now, but I think we also have some deeper cultural issues to resolve before even that will work. The sort of issues that also tie into the original question.

As an aside, middle-class kids are often “too rich” for those free rides while still being far too poor to pay tuition without massive loans, even with the GI Bill. I think that’s a mighty big crack to fall through, considering how many people are above the poverty line yet still poor enough that five/six-figure debt is untenable.

rojo's avatar

Perhaps it is as simple as a matter of definition as the posts above illustrate.

@josie defines an environmentalist as an anti-business, anti-industrial, anti-progress extremist movement bent on the destruction of civilization and intent on driving us back into the stoneage while to @Coloma sees an environmentalist is someone who cares about the environment they live in, does what they can to make their corner of the world a better place, and is willing to balance their lifestyle, with all the perks and benefits that the industrial world can offer, with the health of natural environment.
I would hazard a guess that the two sides are really not that far apart on what they want out of life. Yes there are differences of opinion on how to get from Point A to Point B but the main thing is that both sides want to be at Point B.

janbb's avatar

@rojo So why are we having such trouble getting to Point B?

jerv's avatar

@janbb My take is that it’s because there are more than two sides here. For instance, there are people who want to not harm the environment yet they utterly refute that global warming is even technically possible, let alone happening (well, at least according to an overwhelming majority of scientists). They don’t want a polluted world any more than you or I, but they sincerely believe that humans are not adversely affecting the environment. Why change anything to get from Point A to Point B if we are already at Point B, a world where humans are not harming the planet one little bit? Of course those people will oppose environmental regulation, especially if it costs anything.
Then there is the side that honestly doesn’t care; they’re rich now, and will hopefully die of old age before repercussions come, so all is good. I doubt there are terribly many of them, but I just as vehemently believe that there are at least a few selfish nihilists in the mix to whom profit trumps all else.
On the flipside, you have people who think that humanity is a danger to Earth, and that using any technology more advanced than flint-napping will result in Armageddon by next Tuesday. Slightly less extreme are the people who just overreact to things. For instance, the Exxon Valdez wasn’t just an accident, it’s proof that oil is evil and that we should abandon any and all use of petrochemicals effective immediately… and shut down every nuclear plant ever too because Three Mile Island.
Of course, this being 21st-century America, we also have those that are pushing for environmental regulation just to annoy their opposition. Spite is a two-way street, and like the Nihilists mentioned above, I feel fairly certain that there are also Contrarians.

In short, it’s not just a matter of definition, but perception and degree as well.

rojo's avatar

Environmentalism: An attempt to balance relations between humans and the various natural systems on which they depend in such a way that all the components are accorded a proper degree of sustainability.

Liberals, while recognizing that government itself can be a threat, are more likely to believe that government, through its rules and regulations, is necessary to protect individuals from being harmed by the actions of others. Environmental regulation is an extension the liberal philosophy that government is a tool of the people and should be used to further the greater good over the profits of the few. It is not saying that you cannot make a profit, only that you cannot do so to the detriment of everyone else.

Conservatives, on the other hand, take the stance that the market is self-regulating and therefore self-policing and want to minimize government intervention into what they see as an economic issue where regulation could inhibit free trade and open competition. However, I don’t believe the owner of the Sago Mine was going into the mine every day, breathing the coal dust laden air and risking death from explosive gasses that build up. Hooker Chemical Company stockholders did not live in the Love Canal community. BP official did not have to look for a new livelihood after trashing out the Gulf Coast. No TransCanada CEO will lose his land through Eminent Domain just so a new pipeline will exist. Were the markets really self-regulating or if individuals were inclined to look at the long term impacts of their actions and not focus on short-term results that greatly benefit themselves then perhaps a true free market system would work but I don’t believe that is going to happen any time soon. This is why we need, and have, the regulations.

In addition to their belief in the ability of the free market to self-govern I feel that, because liberals are more likely to utilize the government through regulation, to force business to be more accountable and given that increasing regulation brings a need for inspectors and staff which in turn means enlarging the government, another anathema to the conservative mindset, the conservative feels no choice but to oppose environmental regulation and, by extension, environmentalism in all forms.

I think this attitude is an extension of what I call the “Monty Python School of Contradiction”:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnTmBjk-M0c and it is not exclusively a conservative trait but one utilized by both sides of the debate.

This is a broad brushstroke however. On an individual basis, regardless of their political views, no one wants their particular mountain top removed, toxic waste dumped into their canals or cancer causing agents pumped into the air they breathe daily. If you have a vested interest and your health and survival or that of your family is at risk you quickly become an environmentalist.

rojo's avatar

@janbb short answer is it is easier to call each other names, question each others values and talk over each other than sit down and rationally come to some kind of consensus, which would take work and compromise, two things in short supply these days.

Coloma's avatar

@rojo Yep, forget political affiliation, everyone should be interested in working towards the greater environmental good. I don’t identify with any political parties, infact, I call myself a liberal apolitical. lol

rojo's avatar

Sorry, my link did not work

This is how I view most discussions about environmental issues: Man who contradicts everyone

msh's avatar

Because conservatives see the environment as their mean$ to an end….OURS.

Cruiser's avatar

@msh I respectfully disagree with your statement and I know as a conservative I am not alone either. But I will posit that both conservatives and liberals alike depend on the abuses to our environment to assure cheap gasoline prices, steady stream of electricity to power up their internet and cell phones and cheap everyday items they buy a Wallymart. I find it very hypocritical of anyone who points a finger at ANYONE and accuses them of abusing the environment when they themselves do absolutely nothing to change the things in their own life that would lessen theirs and societies dependency of things they buy that have a negative impact on the environment/global warming/climate change. Anybody that harps about environmental abuses needs to STFU until they themselves actually get up off their ass and do something about it.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Cruiser Your “walk the walk” criticism may be fully justified, but there is absolutely no denying the fact that it is the conservative movement in this country which steadfastly resists any and ALL measures aimed at mitigating the degradation of the environment. In fact from all indications and pronouncements from what passes as conservative leadership, there is no proof that the environment exits!

msh's avatar

Ah,ah,ah….tsk!
I have walked the walk…. Take it baaaaacccckkk!
I worked on getting some legislation passed about environmental damage and the impacting practices and causes- incredible damage that should not have been defended by anyone.
I dealt with the absolute slimiest, self-absorbed imbeciles while doing so; individual$, politician$, lobbyist$ and…circus clowns! Guess where the conservatives fell on that issue?
:|
( I will excuse only the circus clowns, however. They, at least, drive itty-bitty little cars- only ½ a ‘footprint’.....and some clowns wear some pretty big shoes! And so many carpooling! )
I am not RABID about this group does this, and that group does that. But there was a pretty good showing of party lines in an enviromental situation where there shouldn’t have ANY lines at all.

Soooooo…....
I got up OFF MY ASS!
I worked very hard on it too! ( no, not my ass…tsk! )
Sooo
I guess I DON’T HAVE TO STFU
now do I?
Hhhhmmm????
With all due respect Cruiser….
.....so there!
( a big Laurel & Hardy “humph” goes here )

Yahooooo! :D

Cruiser's avatar

Have another beer @msh in the mean time environmental abuses know no boundaries and is in no way owned by either the libs or the dems. Granted the tree huggers are by far rank and file liberals but I can guarantee you that they all take hot showers, charge their cell phones….drive their hybrid SUV’s to the gas station with the lowest prices…..the hypocrisy of this argument is insane at best.

@msh I could list all sorts of feel goods and without links to back your pats on the back up…..yawn.

msh's avatar

Oh, Cruiser, m’dear…..

1— I am insane, damnit! Who told I wasn’t? That Putin-fella? He lies I tell you!

2— There is nothing wrong with hugging a tree! However, I find them cold and stand-offish…

3— They take hot showers? You had best take a cold one- your ire is making you grumpy.

4— Tsk-chk! Everyone KNOWS liberals and treehuggers ride bicycles! Silly rabbit!

5— I can’t reach my back to pat. Ok, wait, I can if I back up to that snotty tree…
I suppose I could ask Putin….I’ll tell him you said ‘hello’....

Hee, hee, hee, hee, snort!
Hoo!

Coloma's avatar

@msh I’m a tree hugger and I ride a horse, what better way to see trees in the woods? lol

msh's avatar

Ohhhhhh-
How lucky you are! Truly. Wow.
The visualization is even calming.
Breathe it in deeply for me also.
**sigh**
:)

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser “Granted the tree huggers are by far rank and file liberals but I can guarantee you that they all take hot showers, charge their cell phones….drive their hybrid SUV’s to the gas station with the lowest prices”

Actually no. Patchoulli oil, a solar panel, and a biodiesel VW bus running on waste oil from fryolators cover those.

Seriously though, the tree-huggers are no more “rank and file Liberals” than Ted Cruz and Kin Davis are rank-and-file Conservatives. Both sides have their extremist elements, but Liberals are less likely to actually put their extremists into office whereas it seems that extremism is a prerequisite to even be considered to be allowed on the ballot for a GOP nomination, leaving many Conservatives disenfranchised.

stanleybmanly's avatar

In the end, I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. From my viewpoint, conservatives have a hopeless stance. There isn’t a single advancement in the effort to improve things that they haven’t fought against tooth and nail. In the end they lose, they always lose. Despite predictions of economic doom you can now breathe the air in L A and acid rain is a thing of the past. The sky didn’t fall, and the air in it is a lot more breathable. In the last 30 years conservatism has come to mean little more than resistance to positive improvement. Any “progress” championed from the right is about mean spirited piling up on the poor and disadvantaged or enthusiastic efforts to further fatten the rich. Their position on any environmental issue is alway flat out dishonest, flying in the face of science and even common sense. The leadership is distinguished as either transparently evil or hopelessly stupid, and any measure regarded as mean or regressive is guaranteed to have their selfish fingerprints all over it.

Cruiser's avatar

@stanleybmanly Since when did we all completely
stop burning coal for electricity and banned all forms of combustion engines? Today I plan on cutting my grass with a gas mower, driving my boat and driving my car home like millions of other human beings a sizable portion are liberals. Acid rain is hardly a thing of the past.

Jaxk's avatar

Wow, on the one hand complain about jobs moving overseas and then swear that regulation has no impact. Without the ability to connect the dots, liberals believe there are no consequences to their actions.

jca's avatar

@Jaxk: Stereotyping much?

stanleybmanly's avatar

I’m stereotyping, and enjoying it quite a bit. It’s one thing to fault regulation for jobs moving overseas, but let’s not ignore the role of that government you so despise in facilitating and subsidizing the exodus. The government of the United States so openly abetted and facilitated the offshoring of American industries that the only thing missing is utilization of the Air Force and navy in the transport. And why not? The folks exporting the manufacturing, jobs, and obscene profits are the same ones who own the government.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Cruiser Of course we ALL pollute, no one disputes this. That was never the issue. The issue is frankly whether or not we can continue willy-nilly and if so, for how long? Now any fool, even a conservative fool must recognize that we can’t get away with it much longer, and yet as Texas shrivels like a raisin and brigades of tornadoes remove the topsoil from our beloved red states, their stalwart represents pop up on the nightly news railing against the fraud of climate change and bemoaning detestable government handouts, while demanding disaster relief.

Cruiser's avatar

@stanleybmanly The main difference is WHO is doing the hand waving hysterics while driving their SUV and charging their IPhones at home and those that are making a big buck because the hand wavers are demanding they get cheap gas and non stop electricity no matter the source. I have studied this very issue in depth for years and can attest that the solutions is often worse than the problem…hence why we have such a fervor behind fracking and Arctic drilling for oil. It is way over due for more than liberal hand waving and self absolving lip service to a cause and time for real activism that will bring meaningful change as to how we as in ALL PEOPLE shuttle from city to city and light our homes and power up our beloved electronics.

janbb's avatar

@Cruiser I don’t disagree with you but I do think on both sides tarring all with the same brush is disinguous at best. There are liberals who live their beliefs – have hybrid cars of use a bike, live in smaller houses, avoid plastics, etc. And I’m sure there are pockets of conservatives who aspire to responsible stewardship – although that doesn’t seem to make party policy. I do think societal solutions such as effective mass transit and alternative power are crucial. Not sure what you are saying about fracking and Arctic drilling – that they are necessary or should be avoided. The dangers of both for me outweigh the advantages but I do understand that we are all enamored of cheap energy. The problems are complex and we seem to be unable to find common ground and to support scientific searches for solutions.

majorrich's avatar

I think the Birkenstocks that give it away..

Coloma's avatar

^ and the tye dye. lol

Hey, we’re adopting a new rescue goose today, a darling 10 yr. old Buff goose named ” Sissy” who lost her gander. I am the tye dyed goose herd here, boycott down products and do not eat foie gras!

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk It’s really a mixed bag there, but the truth is that all cost-cutting measures have a price. You complain about higher taxes and the social programs being too generous, yet you didn’t connect the dots well enough to see the true cost of low wages.

Of course, the possibility of jobs being moved overseas is not one that was overlooked, so it’s not a failure to connect the dots so much as trying to the feds trying to cut their cost (and our taxes) by making employers pay the costs like they did back when our nation was irrefutably prosperous as opposed to requiring political spin to determine if our economy is good or not.

But if we are talking about a failure to connect the dots, how long did the private sector expect to get away with not policing itself before an external agent (like government) intervened? One of the things that I think we do agree on is that, in an ideal world, government intervention would never be required. But that leads to one of the fundamental differences between you and I; I am not nearly so trusting in the benevolence of Man as you are. Part of the reason I do not trust business to regulate itself is simply history. Quite a large number of centuries of it, and still ongoing as some of the misdeeds that caused government intervention in the first place are still ongoing.

Have you ever noticed how drunk people stripping of all their clothes and dancing on the tables at McDonalds tend to get arrested far more often than those that just order, pay, sit down and eat their burgers quietly? In that vein, I get far fewer tickets for speeding than those who weave through traffic at 90mph. It’s kind of the same deal here. Those that do not wish to draw the attention of authorities behave in a manner that does not cause avoidable disruption to society.

Since some business owners have conducted themselves poorly, the most expedient solution is to punish all business owners equally. Not entirely fair as many businesses far larger than your’s have the fines for non-compliance as a line item in their budgets whereas you are better off breaking yourself to pay the expense of compliance. So the next time you grumble about the expense of having to renovate or something due to a new regulation, bear in mind that that regulation is the result of some other business doing something egregiously wrong.

But instead of complaining about the fuse that detonated the powderkeg, maybe you should blame the person holding the match that lit the fuse. You may have to connect a couple dots to trace things back to their root cause, but despite my general cynicism, I do have enough faith in your intellectual abilities to know that you’re capable of that task. I doubt your willingness to do so, but that’s another matter.

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser One nice thing about being more of an engineer than a politician is that I am more keenly aware than most of the TANSTAAFL principle. There are times where I’ve machined things for a production run and found that a 20% reduction in speed led to tool life that was 2–10 times longer; considering the cost of carbide, the few dozen dollars lost on paying me overtime was more than made up for the hundreds of dollars saved on cutters. When the bean counters figured revenue per hour and tried to get profits up, they just looked at the selling price and time spent per unit without considering the true costs involved.

But people failing to see the true costs of things should come as no surprise. We have people that are against hunting and think hunters should buy meat from stores where no animals were harmed. I really wouldn’t expect much foresight or insight from people like that.

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv – Your response is typical and the reason it is so difficult to have any discussion with you. Things are not black and white, all or nothing. I don’t know anybody that believes all regulation is bad nor do I know any body that believes all regulation is good (you may be the exception). There is a point where regulation becomes so burdensome, so expensive, that people try to cheat.

I’ll use an example that we all have to deal with, incandescent light bulbs. For what-ever reason government decided that these lamps should be eliminated. So they outlawed any production of the 100 watt and will eventually drive to other wattage. The replacement of course is fluorescent lights. Now we’re all happy that those inefficient incandescent lights are gone but what do we do with those fluorescent lights when they fail. Recycle of course. Unfortunately recycling is for thses bulbs, is not easy. When recycling becomes difficult or expensive people will just throw them in the trash creating a whole new set of problems. How many people do you know that will take their old bulbs to a hazardous waste dump when one burns out? Of course if it a business that has to deal with the extra expense, no body cares because they don’t see the direct cost. Government seldom does a cost/benefit analysis anymore and even when they do it isn’t realistic. Just let me know when was the last time you visited a hazardous waste recycling center. My last visit was last month.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk If they are not, then why do you paint them thusly yourself SSSOOO often? I’m considerably more reasonable when others don’t go off half-cocked themselves.

As one who has worked as an electrician and as a Hazmat person, I am well aware of the issues of disposing of fluorescent bulbs (including CFLs), and have always seen them as a poor substitute for incandescent despite the energy savings; the hassles of dealing with mercury far outweigh the benefits, at least in my eyes as someone who knows more about electrical and environmental science than your average ideologue or bean-counter. I don’t think the reduction is emissions from powerplants totally offsets the “down the road” environmental impact of swapping tungsten filaments for mercury vapors.

Living on the outskirts of one of the bigger metropolitan areas in the US, and a pretty Liberal one at that, we have plenty of places for recycling. Enough that visiting a center is not needed unless I want to get rid of a chest freezer. I just drop my burnt-out CFLs in the bin at the store as I go for LED bulbs which, at least here, and now, are on steep discount due to subsidies from Seattle City Light as they would rather buy people bulbs than upgrade their system to produce and distribute more watts. And since I’m there already, why not drop off a pile of dead alkaline batteries?

But I am quite familiar with how hazardous waste recycling operates since it used to be my job.

As for regulation becoming so burdensome and expensive, I agree. I would like to see less of it myself. But guess what? That can only happen if we loosen the leash on those proven to have a bad record. I prefer having PCP addicts and rabid pit bulls to have a few more restrictions on their actions than less aggressively dangerous people/dogs, and until the business sector can PROVE that they are capable of self-regulation, we’re going to wind up with a situation that nobody is happy with.

Given that you employers have a large effect on society, it stands to reason that they would have some constraints anyways just to maintain order. How much money do consumers have to spend? That depends on employers. How many people collect food stamps or welfare despite being employed? That also depends heavily on employers. And I’m pretty sure that even a small convenience store has a considerably higher electric bill than my apartment, so employers have an impact on resource availability as well.

Unfortunately, some things don’t scale well. And that simple fact may be why we’re having the issues we have now. Just as our tax code has difficulty dealing with those who earn over $1,000,000 a year, certain measures intended to improve things wind up hurting small businesses without solving the problem that led to even desiring to implement a half-assed measure in a ham-fisted manner. Maybe the solution is limiting the size of companies… though I personally am not sure that that’s even morally acceptable or possible, let alone practical.

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv – The example was to show one of the few times regulation impacted the general public. The truth is very few businesses used incandescent lights. Most had already gone to fluorescent and are now moving to LED lighting. No government involvement was needed for that. Businesses tend to do what works to reduce expenses. When government gets involved it typically increases cost and creates problems. But if you can’t see it, you can’t see it. I’ll let it go.

As for limiting the size of corporations, government already has the ability to do that, they just seem to choose not to. Hart-Scott-Rodino requires companies with assets of more than $100 million to notify and get approval prior to any merger or acquisition. Unfortunately they don’t seem to stop many and the competition continues to decline. I see that as a problem. That’s how we get to the Too-Big-to-Fail scenario.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk I didn’t see it in that instance, but considering some of the jobs I’ve had, I know more about regulations (especially OSHA and environmental ones) than you would ever consider giving me credit for. Yet despite that knowledge, I also know why many of those regulations are there, and I generally have little sympathy for those suffering from self-inflicted harm.

Regarding your second paragraph, I agree, but have some concerns about what sort of knee-jerk reaction we’ll get from the government once they realize that they’ll either have to solve that problem or risk defenestration (possibly literally, though more likely through merely losing an election). It’s also why I feel that the only difference between Communism and Capitalism is transparency. Both are often corrupted, and both lead to the same endgame.

rojo's avatar

Getting back to the question as to why environmentalism seems to have become associated with liberalism, my initial thoughts were that it was because environmentalism has become integrally tied to regulation in that the government is the power by which we attempt to stop environmental abuses and the conservative mindset abhors regulation of any kind as interference into their God given right to do as they damn well please.

But, that led me deeper and I decided that it had really had to do with the opposing views of the natural world expressed by liberals and conservatives and the mindset that gave rise to these views. I realize that I am painting very broad strokes here with a very big brush so please forgive me if you do not fit the profile

For the most part, conservatives view the planet and its resources as existing for their benefit and use. Man is not a part of nature; Man is above nature as God granted mankind dominion over “the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” As far as they are concerned every living thing on the earth and even the very earth itself are here to be exploited to the maximum benefit of those powerful enough to do so.

Liberals are more likely to consider themselves conservators of the earth and all which dwells therein, probably because they view man as but an integral part of nature, not a separate and distict entity with special God-given rights and powers.

Cruiser's avatar

Yes….to get back to the question. The reason environmentalism is associated with liberal ideology is because it was liberals like John Muir who created the environmental movement that gave birth to the Sierra Club. Dig deeper into the footnotes of history and you will also find the foot print of Conservatives like Teddy Roosevelt who led the Conservation movement to help protect and preserve our nations natural resources like forests, waterways, electricity and flood protection. As our country grew and modernized these natural resources were in more demand and that had clear and negative impacts on them which set the stage for the push pull between Environmentalists and Conservationists. It was another Conservative named Richard Nixon who saw the need for the Government to do more to protect our naturals resources and created the EPA. Yet it is the Liberal tree huggers and Greenpeace activists that get all the press as planned and managed Conservation of our natural resources is just plain boring.

I am old enough to remember rivers and bodies of water catching on fire they were so polluted. We have come a long way from those days and we all want our clean water, steady stream of electricity but those taken for granted conveniences that very few both Liberals and Conservatives are willing to make meaningful changes in their daily lives to lessen this constant pressure and strain on our natural resources. IMHO we all need to do more to help preserve Mother Nature and change how we do things in our lives. I get depressed when I see how wasteful we are as a society and need to change before it is too late and the damage is permanent and beyond repair.

janbb's avatar

@Cruiser MWAH for that.

Strauss's avatar

@Jaxk …on the one hand complain about jobs moving overseas and then swear that regulation has no impact

I contend that it was exactly lack of regulation, added to abandonment of tariffs or duty on imported products, that caused allowed most jobs to move overseas. It is precisely because corporations were allowed to that they started outsourcing jobs.

rojo's avatar

@Cruiser and it is worth noting that it was a split between reform minded Republicans like TR and those who considered themselves “real conservatives” who ran the party the brought about TRs’ Progressive (or Bull Moose) Party. In his time it was progressives who were for responsible change and as TR said “constructive change offers the best method of avoiding destructive change, reform is the antidote to revolution… ”.
It is also worth noting that TRs Progressive Party platform called for such things as:
Strict limits and disclosure requirements on political campaign contributions
Registration of lobbyists
Recording and publication of Congressional committee proceedings
A National Health Service to include all existing government medical agencies.
Social insurance, to provide for the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled
Limited injunctions in strikes
A minimum wage law for women
An eight hour workday
A federal securities commission
Farm relief
Workers’ compensation for work-related injuries
An inheritance tax
A Constitutional amendment to allow a Federal income tax
Women’s suffrage
Direct election of Senators
Primary elections for state and federal nominations
The recall election (citizens may remove an elected official before the end of his term)
The referendum (citizens may decide on a law by popular vote)
The initiative (citizens may propose a law by petition and enact it by popular vote)
Judicial recall (when a court declares a law unconstitutional, the citizens may override that ruling by popular vote) .

Pretty heady stuff for a conservative.

rojo's avatar

I wonder if anyone can point to a leader in the present day conservative movement who could also be considered an environmentalist? Perhaps @Cruiser‘s answer showing past Republican leaders as examples of pro-environmental conservatives goes along with what the OP has implied in his original question. At one time environmentalism/conservationism was a theology embraced by members both liberal and conservative and yet today it is difficult to find a conservative who will admit to being an environmentalist let alone act on environmental values.
Perhaps the answer to the question is that the core principals that define conservativism have changed so radically that they can no longer include environmental consciousness.

Cruiser's avatar

GW Bush had some pretty aggresive plans to helping our country lessen its dependency on carbon emitting fossil fuels.

In His State Of The Union Address, President Bush Announced His “Twenty In Ten” Plan To Reduce U.S. Gasoline Usage By 20 Percent In The Next Ten Years. President Bush called on Congress and all Americans to join him in pursuing the goal of reducing U.S. gasoline usage, which will help increase our Nation’s energy security by reducing our dependence on oil. Achieving this goal will also help address climate change concerns by slowing the projected growth of carbon dioxide emissions from cars, light trucks, and SUVs.

America Can Reach The President’s “Twenty In Ten” Goal By:

Increasing The Supply Of Renewable And Alternative Fuels By Setting A Mandatory Fuels Standard To Require 35 Billion Gallons Of Renewable And Alternative Fuels In 2017 – Nearly Five Times The 2012 Target Now In Law. In 2017, this would displace 15 percent of projected annual gasoline use.

Reforming And Modernizing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards For Cars And Extending The Current Light Truck Rule. In 2017, this would reduce projected annual gasoline use by up to 8.5 billion gallons, a further 5 percent reduction that, in combination with increasing the supply of renewable and alternative fuels, would bring the total reduction in projected annual gasoline use to 20 percent.

rojo's avatar

For those interested here is a copy of Bushs’ Twenty in Ten.

To my way of thinking, this was not conceived as, nor implemented as an environmental program. The major focus of this paper seems to be in finding ways to justify opening up ANWR and the Continental Shelf for gas and oil drilling, finding ways of allowing exceptions to CAFE and other fuel saving programs and the like and circumventing EPA regulations with programs such as the so-called Clean Skies Initiative.

It would also be extremely interesting to know how much of the proposed programs and funding for alternative fuels and energy technologies actually ended up in the coffers of the oil and gas industry. My guess would be the vast majority of it.

Like asking the fox how to guard the hen house.

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