Climate Change Basics
Climate change is an important issue facing our world today. Essentially, it refers to long-lasting changes in the global temperature, precipitation, and other weather patterns, which at present, are mostly being caused by the emission of greenhouse gases.
Why is climate change important?
Climate change is important because it affects the entire planet, and all of us who live on it—now and in the future. Rising air and ocean temperatures change weather patterns, resulting in sea level rise, and extreme weather events such as stronger storms, drought (and related wildfires), heat waves, and flooding. Other impacts, such as increased spread of disease and habitat loss are equally concerning. These changes are already wreaking havoc on peoples’ lives, agricultural crops, and our economy.
What causes climate change?
The increase in greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere is the primary cause of present day climate change. The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon that occurs when certain gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, and methane, trap a portion of the sun’s heat and prevent it from dissipating into space. This insulating layer of gas is how, what President Reagan called “this magical planet God gave us”, maintains a suitable climate for life. However, emitting too much of these gases into the atmosphere—particularly the pollution caused by burning fossil fuels like coal, gas, and oil—amplifies the greenhouse effect and causes our climate to overheat.
To learn more about what climate change is and what is causing it, check out our climate science basics page here.
What can we do about climate change?
There are many ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and alleviate the effects of climate change. Some examples include:
Follow the market. Today’s energy market provides a golden opportunity to advance real climate solutions that help our economy. By embracing the present energy market and relying on climate-friendly energy sources such as solar with storage, wind, and nuclear, which are now more economical than traditional coal and gas plants, we can effectively combat climate change while simultaneously reducing our energy costs.
Support fiscally responsible and economically viable policies and regulations that promote the use of cleaner and cheaper energy sources, which will save us money while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These policies include long-term clean energy standards to nudge monopoly utilities in the right direction, cap and trade plans like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), home efficiency tax credits, and electric infrastructure that facilitates the growth of renewable energy and electric vehicles.
Promote awareness and educate fellow conservatives about the origins and consequences of climate change. Advocate for others to take action and endorse economically sensible and fiscally responsible policies.
Why do conservatives need to engage on this issue?
Many Americans recognize the significance of climate change, which has become a focal point for the left, leading to the perception that conservatives are unconcerned about environmental issues.
It is crucial that conservatives be involved in addressing climate change as the approach taken to reduce emissions can have significant impacts on our economy. Conservative leadership has a history of providing successful, productive, and long-lasting solutions to environmental issues, including smog, water pollution, ozone depletion, and acid rain. Therefore, our constructive engagement is essential.
We conservatives have a noteworthy record when it comes to implementing solutions to address climate change. During his presidency, Reagan pushed through the most successful environmental treaty in history, the Montreal Protocol. It is an international agreement to phase out chemicals that were depleting earth’s protective ozone layer. This treaty not only facilitated the recovery of our atmosphere’s ozone layer, but it has also reduced greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
Another notable example is President George H. W. Bush. President Bush took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations. Over 150 countries pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prepare national action plans, and conduct crucial scientific research and monitoring.
Lately, we have relinquished control of this issue to the left, which could be a dangerous decision. By not actively participating in developing solutions for climate change, we run the risk of solely relying on “solutions” proposed by the left. And as we know, those are often not real solutions at all.
It is time for us to rise to the occasion and start taking action.