As a Republican, I support clean air, clean soil and clean water. As a Christian, I believe mankind is called to serve as a caretaker of the environment. We must ask ourselves what role the government has to play in the protection of the environment and decide how we want to speak about the issue. Many Republicans view environmental issues as “lose/lose” and choose to ignore them all together. This is a grave error and the reason why nearly everyone to whom the environment is a priority votes Democrat.
We can win these people back to the Republican Party if, as a party, we demonstrate that we actually do care a great deal about the environment. The Democrats don’t make it easy on us. They can always out-green Republicans by offering new federal or state programs aimed at eliminating, banning, taxing, or regulating one thing or another. The reality is, however, Democrats really don’t care about the environment.
Climate change has become a terrifying religion for many people across the world. They treat environmentalism like a religion, totally disconnected from economy and human behavior. Their first thought is always force. We’ll force people to stop polluting. We’ll tax people who are polluting. We’ll even invent new pollutants.
Toby Mirman, writing for Forward, argues that the election in the United States will have a tremendous impact on the future of Israel’s survival (Forward). He believes that human beings determine the climate and that Donald Trump wants to ruin the climate for Israel. He believes that bureaucratic regulation is more powerful than the sun and more powerful than the earth. His words tremble as he imagines what a Trump presidency would mean for Israel.
Donald Trump has promised to rescind many of President Obama’s steps toward a sustainable future, including the Clean Power Plan, Climate Action Plan, and Waters of the U.S. Rule, as well as “cancel” the U.S.’ commitments to the Paris agreements within his first 100 days in office. Moreover, Trump has declared his intentions to eliminate entirely the Environmental Protection Agency. These actions would have catastrophic effects on our ability to combat climate change, not to mention put millions of Americans in immediate and grave danger of being poisoned by pollution currently controlled by government regulation.
You see, this is why Republicans don’t talk about the environment. Without being an environmental scientist, how can you possibly convince someone who believes that Donald Trump is going to poison America that he’s crazy? I am not an environmental scientist, so I’m not going to advocate for any new environmental policy. I do believe, however, that clean air, clean soil and clean water are a great place to start. Truly, who doesn’t want clean air, soil and water?
Environmental Policy should have two fundamental starting points. On the one hand, anyone who pollutes the property of another should be fiscally liable for doing so. As I understand it, this is already the case. Second, air and water are public goods. This means that there is some justification for government action. However, it doesn’t seem controversial to me to require polluters to pay the government to clean up their own mess. This should be done, however, on a strictly quantifiable level. Air quality would have to actually show hazardous levels of pollutants for humans before we begin taxing or penalizing firms. Water would have to actually show hazardous levels of pollutants to wildlife (and therefore humans) and those pollutants would have to be proven to come from a specific plant.
There is no reason for a large federal EPA. The States all have their own environmental agencies. The federal EPA should be more of an environmental court than a bureaucratic agency. It should solve disputes between the states when state environmental agencies have a disagreement; and issue general guidelines that all state agencies should follow.
Back to Mr. Mirman – he doesn’t care about the environment.
“If the U.S. takes a strong stance against climate change, Israel will benefit greatly from increased American investment in its environmental sector.”
He wants the United States to subsidize green energy companies in Israel. That’s all he really cares about. I think it is time for Republicans to begin talking about the environment, to establish consistent messaging based on science and experience, not on environmental mysticism or corporate welfare. We can take this issue back from the Democrats by pointing out over and over again, how they use “environmentalism” to enrich themselves and their corporate friends. Al Gore made a fortune promoting fraudulent energy companies; and he’s not alone.