Before going in to this, I want to say that recently, political parties on both sides have admitted that global warming is a man made problem. In the last US election, Democrats and Republicans both pledged to do something about Global Warming. However, the rank-and file conservatives, and the conservative political commentators on TV and in the press, have generally continued to call global warming a hoax.
With very few exceptions, global warming deniers are conservative. Those few liberals who deny global warming would need to be looked at on a case by case basis, but I suspect that most of them would turn out to be false liberals, or somewhat confused about what liberals stand for.
So why do conservatives call global warming a hoax?
Conservatives in the USA tend to be more religious than liberals, and are guided more by the bible than by scientists, especially when those scientists deny God's creations and deny the literal truth of every word of the bible. Conservatives sometimes refer to Global Warming as an alternate form of religion.
In the USA, conservative has come to mean "opposed to governmental control and opposed to taxes", especially since the rich are taxed more heavily than the poor. One of the most obvious solutions to global warming would be to use government regulations, oversight and taxation. So Conservatives would prefer that global warming be a hoax.
From an article by Richard S. Lindzen 1992, who is one of the most respected global warming skeptics, (and coincidentally a "smoking causes lung cancer" skeptic and heavy smoker)
"As Aaron Wildavsky, professor of political science at Berkeley, has quipped, "global warming'' is the mother of all environmental scares. Wildavsky's view is worth quoting. "Warming (and warming alone), through its primary antidote of withdrawing carbon from production and consumption, is capable of realizing the environmentalist's dream of an egalitarian society based on rejection of economic growth in favor of a smaller population's eating lower on the food chain, consuming a lot less, and sharing a much lower level of resources much more equally.'' In many ways Wildavsky's observation does not go far enough. The point is that carbon dioxide is vitally central to industry, transportation, modern life, and life in general. It has been joked that carbon dioxide controls would permit us to inhale as much as we wish; only exhaling would be controlled. The remarkable centrality of carbon dioxide means that dealing with the threat of warming fits in with a great variety of preexisting agendas--some legitimate, some less so: energy efficiency, reduced dependence on Middle Eastern oil, dissatisfaction with industrial society (neopastoralism), international competition, governmental desires for enhanced revenues (carbon taxes), and bureaucratic desires for enhanced power."
Conservatives have realized that any money put into global warming may be withdrawn from military budgets.
American conservatives have a negative view of the UN and of international cooperation. International cooperation is almost a necessity in combating global warming. And some transfer of wealth to developing nations may be required, which is generally opposed by conservatives.
Conservatives understand that to combat global warming, we must conserve energy, meaning reducing wasteful consumption and wretched excess. This would obviously impact rich conservatives far more than middle class liberals.
Conservatives, almost by definition, do not like to change, like to keep things the way they are. If we are going to do something about global warming, big changes are needed. Conservatives will generally oppose big changes.
Here are some examples of liberal opinions and goals that may make them more likely to do something about global warming than conservatives.
- Taxing the rich and profitable corporations is necessary
- Scientists can tell us more about climate change than the bible or religious prophesies
- We should live more frugally, conserve more, reduce waste
- The gap between rich and poor, between rich countries and poor countries should be decreased
- Reduced military spending, other than what is strictly needed for home defence
- Making the world a better place
- Reduced dependence on foreign oil (hence foreign military invasions)
- More government oversight of corporations
- Saving the environment
Pictures: I photoshopped two pictures to illustrate the impact of global warming at the North Pole. Can you tell if it is winter or summer? (Hint, the sun is up) And what time of day it is? All time zones converge at this point, so take your pick.