Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Putting the "Conserve" Back in "Conservativism"

Last week I worried that the Florida Summit on Climate Change might be more hot air than real action. Turns out that action was
clear and decisive:
The silver-haired governor of Florida stood arm-in-arm Friday with the silver-screen governor of California, joked about being recast in Twins, and then -- as the cameras rolled -- signed a groundbreaking set of environmental protection orders.

Gov. Charlie Crist described the mandates as a framework for a new, more future-friendly way of living and conducting business in Florida.

''State government is leading by example,'' he said. ``It is the right thing to do.''

It also is a popular thing to do. Symbolizing the new star power of environmentalism, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger joined Crist at the signing ceremony after delivering a variation of his trademark line: "'We have to say `Hasta la vista, baby' to greenhouse gases.''

Among the components of Crist's plan, long on goals though short on specifics: Tough new pollution standards for automobiles; a strong regulatory push for solar and wind energy; state vehicles powered by biofuel -- all contributing to sharply reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 2017, with deeper cuts by 2025 and even more by 2050.
Word of the executive orders leaked out in the days leading up to the conference, so the summit's tone went from "what will Crist do" to "Crist has acted, now what will DC do?" Considering Republicans are stonewalling action in Congress and President Bush is threatening to veto every positive piece of energy/environment legislation that comes within 100 yards of his desk, it was really amazing to see two Republican governors taking the lead on state global warming action.

But as Gov. Schwarzenegger said, our best conservationist president was Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican. Some how the "conserve" in "conservativism" got switched from preserving nature to preserving the profits of fossil fuel providers.

Is your member of Congress a cosponsor of legislation to fight global warming? Find out here!

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