Is environmentalism intrinsically leftwing? Are Americans more environmentally ignorant than other nationalities? The answer seems to be "no" according to two recent reports in the Economist and the Guardian. [Read more below]
The Guardian reminds us that the environmental movement actually began in the US. And the some of the most significant environmental initiatives are coming from either the political right or from business. After all, Arnold Schwarzenegger the Republican governor of California has made the state of California a world leader in cutting carbon emissions. Even in the South, Texas is now the biggest generator of wind power in the states. And plans to curb and reduce emissions are well advanced in 400 cities. The Guardian article says that even George Bush is becoming green, and this is largely to do with pressure from his own political base, the Christian fundamentalists, who want him to sign the Kyoto Protocol. Apparently, '"Eco-theology" and evangelical pro-life propaganda have become one of the liveliest branches of the US environmental movement'.
The Economist reminds us that 'The Republican Party has a strong, albeit fitful, tradition of environmentalism.' Currently US politicians 'vie to out-green one another', and those who disdain environmental concerns are being ousted at the polls. And even 'US big business 'is beginning to accept that change is in the air.' It seems that mainstream environmentalism is actually highly compatible with capitalism and conservatism. According to the Economist, 'the firms' bosses claim to see emissions caps as an opportunity not a threat', and American companies are world leaders in alternative energy. They say 'Lots of firms are growing healthily on the back of America's sudden enthusiasm for alternative energy.' Even GM, the world's biggest carmaker, has expressed a hope that oil prices remain high so that fuel-efficient cars are encouraged.