Conservatives & Climate Change

Among the putatively Republican interest groups that would seem to have the least pull with the GOP, I would include the Log Cabin Republicans and the Republicans for Environmental Protection.

As Andy Revkin notes in his interview with the leader of the latter,

This group, while holding to traditional conservative values, has positions on energy and the environment that are substantially in sync with those of many Democrats and independents.

Now I would argue that the guys who have political juice within the Republican party are the traditional hook and bullet groups. They’re the ones that kept the Bush Administration from completely obliterating wildlife from the Western landscape in the 2000s. (Okay, some vigilant environmental groups played a role, too.)

These hunters and anglers are also worried about climate change. Of course, at the end of the day, they have as much sway over the GOP’s stance on global warming as the Republicans for Environmental Protection. But given the significant membership rolls of the Hook & Bullet groups, I’d say their collective voice is the one to pay attention to when it comes to conservatives and climate change.

2 Responses to “Conservatives & Climate Change”

  1. Dean says:

    I’m not convinced that typical rural hunters and fisherman are much worried about AGW. To the degree that conservatives are skeptical or worse, I think that they are in that crowd. There may be some at the edge who are worried. But I don’t see the group in your linked post as being very representative of that constituency.
    The place where sportsmen diverge from the Republicans in general may be with resource extraction – drilling and large-scale mining has obvious impacts on wildlife, and there are many rural hunters in places like Colorado and Wyoming who are not supporters of additional drilling in wild lands. They probably favor offshore drilling however – an easy stance for people in landlocked states.

  2. Alexander Harvey says:

    It seems that we arrived at a point when there became two distinct views on conservation and environmentalism, which I will call green and red, for contrast. They map to various attitudes towards consrvation that I might describe as snappers or shooters, armchair (remote) or field (local).

    As time went on the green aspect gained in ascendancy in parallel with the rise of the wildlife documentary and the conservation charities.

    I think I can make the case that some charities may have created a noble deceit in order to raise necessary funds to carry out their missions. That deceit being that they are stand against the red aspects of conservation.

    I say it is a deceit in that there is a coyness about the hunting issue.

    Here is a quote from the WWF concerning a project they support in Namibia:

    “It also aims to assist communities in benefiting from their natural resources via ecotourism, the setting up of small natural resource related enterprises, plus consumptive use of wildlife, including communal harvests and sale of live game.”

    I know the terms “consumptive use” and “communal harvests” to be euphonisms. They are part of the noble deceit necessary for their maintaining of alliances with both factions.

    Much practical conservation would not be possible without the support of both the green and red constituencies, but life is more congenial if you do not invite to dine together.

    I worry about climatic change as an existential threat to wildlife and the wild. I should like for the climate in 2050 and 2100 to be hospitable, but fail to see the point if we can’t join the other dots necessary to get the wildlife to 2050 and beyond.

    Historically it was the red contigent that promoted dot management, particularly the setting up of anti-poaching reserves such as the Royal Forests that date to Norman times in England and Victorian times in Africa. I would say that it is only relatively recently that the green constituent of conservation became first important and then most populous.

    At this time, I see little prospect of the two constituencies making common cause, I think that the consequence of the means looms larger than the benfit of the ends. I think that there is some hope but most of the adjustment needs to be in the green perspective. Perhaps one place they could start is in envigorating the concept of maintain and living amongst a perpetual wild as opposed to the separation between conserved and domestic domains. Making an end to remoteness and returning conservation to a local issue would narrow the divide local vs remote divide. I think that perspectives are different when the wild encroaches on the domestic, I also believe that only by such accommodation can we hope to join the dots from now till 2050. Whether a green red/alliance or a wild/domestic fusion can be formed are open questions. But ones that may be easier to solve jointly than separately.

    The WWF quote above refers to a project that I am familiar with. Working in an area that is not National Park land, it deals with how to manage a large tract of unfenced wilderness shared by megafauna and villagers using a community conservancy model.

    This is a red/green alliance wild/domestic fusion model and literally means cohabiting with lions, leopards, elephants and significantly the only significant population of free roaming rhinos on the planet. It relies on charitable support but most importantly on international travel by both eco-tourists and trophy hunters in either a spatially or temporally segregated regime so loathesome does the green perceive the red. Until the locals are rich enough to afford to tollerate the wildlife as a luxury, the wilderness will be reliant on air transportation and foreign exploitation.

    I welcome initiatives from the red camp and I should wish them to steal back their share of the environmental cloak, but at this time I cannot see how this will not be a fractious move.


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