As of Sunday, the national average price of a gallon of gasoline in the U.S. was $ 5.01, according to AAA. It seems that in the blink of an eye, the US will exceed the July 2008 price of $ 5.37 (adjusted for inflation at $ 4.14 per gallon). It is clear that the transition to clean energy has been delayed. The United States is in fourth place, behind Japan, China and the European Union, in terms of research and development of energy technologies as a share of GDP. The lack of consensus on the strength and place of renewable energy in the political circle has limited their potential.
There is no doubt that in order for the United States to play compensatory, the transition to clean energy will need the support of conservatives.
The future of clean energy can be reversed with the approval of conservative political elites who – until recently – promoted fossil fuel-friendly policies and resisted efforts to mitigate the climate crisis. Not everyone is convinced that fossil fuels are the ultimate game. In fact, a new kind of conservative is slowly gaining momentum, and the transition of clean energy is patiently waiting in its wings.
Developing conservative views on the transition to clean energy
Decarbonisation is the process of transition from the production and use of fossil fuels to more renewable and sustainable energy sources. Core values, beliefs, and political orientations generally point to attitudes toward decarbonization. Decades of disinformation campaigns by fossil fuel companies lie in the minds of many conservatives. The change in attitudes is coming slowly.
What used to be climate denial has turned into postponing climate action. We see more and more conservatives whose perspectives have become somewhat, so to speak, flexible.
This is partly because new ways of framing have emerged that position the energy transition through positive economic lenses. New questions have arisen. To what extent can conservative leaders continue to promote short-term gains from deep pockets of fossil fuels? How long can conservatives avoid the inevitable long-term losses of not investing in renewable energy?
Climate activists have long argued that clean energy innovation needs fast transitions that push faster than market forces. Rewiring America, an organization that promotes the electrification of everything, argues that a political mandate is the only way to achieve the climate goals of decarbonisation. “The invisible hand of the market is definitely not fast enough; it usually takes decades for new technology to become dominant only thanks to market forces as it slowly increases its market share each year, ”the Rewiring America handbook states.
Behind the scenes, conservative leaders recognize the cognitive dissonance of positive speech about two different energy solutions – fossil fuels and renewable energy. They are also more cautious than ever about election losses due to a perceived lack of climate leadership by voters.
How can conservative leaders get support for the transition to clean energy? How can I adjust my cost, risk and reward strategy from yesterday’s known fossil fuel sources to tomorrow’s healthy renewables on the planet? When will it become the norm to accept the vision of replacing jobs in oil and gas with clean technology training?
Framing an energy environment that is in line with values
Economic conservatism and self-identified conservative / right-wing ideology are strongly linked to opposition to energy transition. Economic conservatism includes support for free enterprise, government intervention in the economy, and redistribution of wealth. Economic conservatism structures the political preferences of individuals in many countries.
However, when elite conservative leaders hint at their rhetoric toward adopting climate-friendly attitudes for the good of the nation, their supporters usually follow leadership. In addition, the ability to see local forms of renewable energy, such as wind turbines, increases the likelihood that people will support this form of energy, especially in rural areas. Recognizing these patterns, incremental changes occur in conservative camps. Conservative leaders are slowly adding rhetorical transparency to their communications about the future of clean energy. Although they are still reluctant to propose government intervention in the economy, conservatives are now discussing “everything possible” energy solutions.
The points at which conservatives and progressives come together are the collective pride of American innovation – common in celebrating American values of individualism, self-confidence and means. The language of conservative advocates of clean energy now refers to “market” transitions to encourage energy alternatives that protect national security and protect independence.
Study in Energy policy identifies the factors associated with the greatest enthusiasm for energy transition:
- rejecting the future of oil and gas
- support for market conservative values
The Christian Coalition Network says: “Taking responsibility for caring for God’s creation and protecting the future of our children and grandchildren is a basic family value. Further delays in the action will affect our national security, our economic security and the security of our family. “
Young conservatives on energy reform want to “create meaningful energy reform that focuses on key issues of national security and economic growth through domestic energy and clean technologies to ensure a prosperous economy now and for future generations of Americans.”
The Conservative Energy Network argues that “simply put, energy independence is energy security — and energy security is national security. When America is energy independent, our economy is safer and our role in foreign policy issues is strengthened. ” CEN calls subscribers “energy patriots”.
The Military Advisory Board, a group of retired senior officers in the U.S. Armed Forces, sees abandoning foreign oil and switching to clean energy as a major national security issue – both in terms of climate change threats and U.S. resources spent on foreign oil interests. “Projected climate change is a complex decades-long challenge,” says the group, “which clearly shows that action is needed today to build resilience to the projected effects of climate change. We no longer have the opportunity to wait and see. ”
Like the GOP, the Tories in the UK have moved somewhat away from their traditional constituencies to embrace working-class voters on an anti-internationalist platform. However, the UK is more committed to climate action among conservatives. The 2008 Climate Change Act was amended in 2019 under a coalition government of Conservatives and their Northern Ireland allies. Instead of weakening the 2008 law, the amendment set a goal of net zero GHG emissions by 2050.
The lesson that American conservatives are absorbing from the Tories is the need to define climate action on their own terms, as a matter of economics. Studies outlining how affordable it can be to replace fossil fuels like coal with renewable energy are becoming noticeable.
Conservative resistance to climate initiatives is beginning to soften along with a strong economic justification for them. “Done properly, we don’t have to lose our jobs in the United States because of this,” said Sen. John Curtis, a Republican from Utah, during a recent panel discussion on climate change and the bipartisanship. “I think we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, in fact, boost our economy at the same time.”
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