Glenn Reynolds sure does summarize the impression many of us have when we come across information like the United States’ having hit a seven-decade low, per capita, in carbon dioxide emissions, falling in absolute terms even as the rest of the world increases. Writes Reynolds:
It doesn’t count if you get this result without expanding governmental power.
But it should. Two problems arise, though. The first is that, obviously, people who want to seize power through centralized government will look for reasons to do so, whether a foreign adversary, moral decay, or a changing environment. A second is less blameworthy: We tend to feel as if a problem has not been addressed unless somebody has addressed it. If the problem seems to improve naturally, then that’s just the way it happened.
A challenge for conservative generally is that our proposed solutions most often have an element of letting problems fix themselves with a minimal nudge from us.