Conservatives for conservation (of a habitable planet)

Whilst I am aware of – and have previously quoted – Lord Deben (i.e. leader of of the Committee on Climate Change – the advisory group David Cameron and George Osborne are ignoring so studiously), I was not aware of the campaign he is heading on Twitter. Thanks must therefore go to John Havery Samuel for alerting me to James Murray’s Are the Green Tories preparing a fight back? article on the BusinessGreen website. As a child, just about everyone in the UK will probably remember learning about the story of Elijah humiliating the prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel (i.e. as recounted in 1 Kings 18 in the Old Testament). However, not all may recall the crisis of faith that followed this tremendous victory (see 1 Kings 19). Although I have never really had the moment of victory, I often feel that I have sure spent a long time having a crisis of faith. However, once you appreciate that I am a socially-conservative environmental realist (see links below if you don’t believe me), I think my persistent feeling that I am in an extreme minority becomes entirely understandable. I would very much recommend that you read the entire story (i.e. of Green Conservatives preparing a fight back) on James’ blog. Hopefully these opening paragraphs will encourage you to do so:

One of the bright spots in an otherwise pretty dispiriting summer for the UK environmental movement has been the unlikely emergence of Tory grandee John Gummer as Twitter’s latest eco-warrior. Now known as Lord Deben, the former Environment Secretary and current chair of the independent Committee on Climate Change has provided a beacon of centre-right common sense on matters environmental – and all in 140 characters. He has argued that fracking may be useful, but will never provide a silver bullet for the UK’s energy crisis; repeatedly challenged “climate deniers and dismissers” to provide one example of a credible institution that supports their crackpot theories; and taken numerous pot shots at ill-informed anti-green commentators and several of his climate denying colleagues in the Lords. All because, in his own words, “no reasonable person would ignore expert opinion and wager his children’s future on the contrarian views of people who are not peer reviewed”. It has been a breath of fresh air and a useful reminder that not all Conservatives have signed up to the reckless vision being relentlessly promoted by Lord Lawson and the Murdoch press – a vision whereby fracking miraculously saves the economy and climate change is either not really happening or left to look after itself. They may not have access to the media foghorm enjoyed by their less progressive colleagues, but there are some Tories who still understand the existential threat posed by climate change, the value of the green economy, and the relationship between conservation and Conservatism. The big question for the UK’s green political scene is whether or not there are enough of them and whether they can wrestle back control of a narrative that Lord Lawson and his friends have recently steered in their own direction.

For those that would challenge my assertion that I am (or can be) ‘socially conservative’, I can only refer you to things I have written on this blog previously: A brief history of mine (12 March 2012). Why I am not a socialist (25 June 2012). Why I am not [just] a capitalist (26 June 2012). Similarly, for those that would challenge my assertion that I am an environmental realist, I can only refer you to the following: The problem with inverting reality (31 January 2012). Conserving mass, water and energy (11 July 2012). Entropy – an unauthorised biography (7 September 2012).


About Rick Altman

Possibly just another 'Climate Cassandra' crying 'Wolf' in cyberspace. However, the moral of the old children's story is that the Wolf eventually turned up!
This entry was posted in Capitalism, Climate Science, Economics, Environment, Fossil Fuels, Hydraulic Fracturing, Politics, Religion and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Conservatives for conservation (of a habitable planet)

  1. marciemole says:

    I like your article very much but my little piece of advice would be not to assume religious knowledge of your audience. I have never heard of the story you spoke about. RE has of little relevance when I was at school. I don’t think it would be arrogant to say I am reasonably knowledgeable or my colleagues and friends ignorant. None of them know the story either. You alienate a large proportion of your audience if you assume certain knowledge a view which then goes on to colour views of what they read afterwards. I hope you are not offended by my little bit of advice. I like your blog and shall continue to read it. Marcie x


    • Rick Altman says:

      Thanks for taking the time to submit your comment, Marcie. Whilst I am not offended by it, I am saddened to think that I could have alienated anyone. My intention was to demonstrate the very socially-conservative nature of my upbringing. In addition, I felt I had avoided the risk of assuming too much by providing the link to Wikipedia. Therefore, would I be right to assume that you are warning me against quoting or referencing the Bible? Again, given that I am not using this blog as a vehicle to promote Christianity, I am saddened to think that people could be offended by my merely acknowledging my own cultural heritage. To me, this seems to be taking political correctness just a little too far; the kind of thing that leads to local authorities not putting up Christmas decorations so as not to offend anyone. I therefore hope you will not be offended by my defence of and/or explanation for what I wrote. I am very glad you like my blog; and I very much hope you will continue to read it.


  2. And, from a more American perspective, old and new conservatism may be immiscible.


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