Heritage Foundation Stakes Out The "Anti-Gore" Position

The President of the Heritage Foundation recently spelled out his, and presumably the position of many others, on Climate Change. In a piece in "Real Clear Politics" Edwin Feulner said:- "This time, the impetus is "global warming," but the prescription is the same: government controls and slower economic growth. "Our natural role is to be the pace car in the race to stop global warming," Al Gore explained in a speech this fall. The former vice president says that to do that, "we should start by immediately freezing CO2 emissions and then beginning sharp reductions." Of course, the reason the United States emits so much CO2 is because we've got the planet's largest economy. So Gore's prescription boils down to saying we need to show the rest of the world the way forward by freezing -- and then reversing -- our economic growth. That's exactly the wrong approach. If anything, we need to increase the pace of our growth, and the rest of the world's. Economic growth, after all, is the surest way to clean up the environment".Like it or not, we design-focused TreeHuggers are surrounded by powerful people who support Mr. Feulner's thinking. We could resort to challenge and response tactics, debating point-by-point the design and market cycnicisms inherent in the last statement: and be overlooked as naive. Probably a waste of time.

We know that a company can milk existing operations, control access to natural resources, layoff and outsource workers, let operations slip into disprepair, and show little regard to the future. Examples surface every day. In this world view, every dollar spent on cleaning up after Katrina gets counted as "GDP," and hence is praised as 'economic growth.' Ignoring climate risk is consistent with this world view.

Alternatively, a company can work to design more resource efficient operations. It can design beautiful, efficient to use products that delight it's customers. It can invest to maintain shareholder value for the long term. And, it can minimize wasteful, toxic "throughput" to create economic growth.

Such are the companies and products we like to talk about on TreeHugger. We hope that Heritage members will one day join us in the celebration.