How are liberal climate change policies determined? Why are conservatives so often opposed to action to deal with climate change? There is a particular explanation of the two points of view that I keep running across. I generally see pieces of it expressed, but here is my summary of the entire argument:
Liberals either invented climate change or exaggerated its importance, so that they could take advantage of it to advance their true agenda, which is big government. Conservatives want small government with lower taxes and less regulation of business, so they resist anything that would require government intervention.
There is no mention of the fact that conservatives, to a greater degree than liberals, are heavily influenced by funding from fossil fuel companies. We are supposed to think that conservatives act from their tenet of small government. Ideologies are never that pure in real life. Might it be that coal and oil companies want to continue making profits unhampered by concerns for public health or the environment, and somehow convince politicians that they should say that the science is unclear?
The goal of liberal climate policy is not big government. Liberals have many goals—human rights, civil rights, a safe and clean environment for future generations—and they consider government regulations a practical tool to accomplish those things. There are other tools that work. For instance, public pressure can force companies to cease harmful activities, and people can be educated in how to use energy more efficiently.
No one invented climate change. Scientists discovered what it is and how it happens, and devised ways to make accurate projections of its effects on us. They have also established that human activity is the cause. That means that the climate will not begin to resume a more normal course until we stop dumping greenhouse gases into the air. We know how to start dealing with it. We have shown that cap and trade can be effective, and so can taxes on carbon emissions. What matters is not whether our solutions are liberal or conservative, but whether they work.