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Conservative Gathering at COP Confirms Climate is No Longer a One-Party Issue

COP26, the annual United Nations gathering to discuss climate change, is in its second week in Glasgow, UK. As might be expected since it deals with the touchy issue of climate change, COP26 has attracted many protestors and activists who are demanding that various governments do more. These activists have protested in the streets, held up traffic, and even called for an end to capitalism.

While the media will focus primarily on these protests, elsewhere in Glasgow conservatives gathered yesterday to promote sustainable climate solutions at the “Climate and Freedom Symposium” hosted by C3 Solutions, the British Conservation Alliance, the Clean Capitalist Leadership Council, and the Grace Richardson Fund.

The Symposium included an impressive slate of panelists, including the Rt. Hon. Dr. Liam Fox, MP, Member of Parliament in the UK; The Rt. Hon. Dan Albas, MP, Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Canada; ExxonMobil board member Andy Karsner; policy experts from The Heritage Foundation; members of the Austrian Economics Center; and many more.

Here are a few of the key highlights:

Dr. Liam Fox kicked off the Symposium with a keynote highlighting the importance of the free market in addressing climate change. Dr. Fox argued:

“The free market incentives, the lack of state interference and the innovative culture that all of these help nurture is the best hope that we have of reaching our climate change goals without reducing living standards in the developed world or holding back the fully justified hope of development in some of the world’s poorer nations.

Going backwards or slowing down our economic advance and technological prowess is not the answer to the challenge of climate change. In fact, it will be a huge impediment.

The leaders of the free, democratic and capitalist world must recommit themselves to the principles that produced the innovation and scientific advance that has been our hallmark – an agenda based on creativity empowered by the free market.”

You can find his full remarks here.

Next, the Rt. Hon. Dan Albas explained what Conservatives in Canada are doing to advance free market solutions that benefit the environment. Specifically, Conservative MP’s are looking to lessen the economic impact that Canada’s carbon tax has on businesses and development. In his view, free market supporters need to come to the table with real, durable solutions for the sake of environmental and economic progress:

“We as free market thinkers need to come with real answers because the dislocation that we have between decision-makers who come with ideas that are not fitting solutions, that do not feel that the people that they’re impacting and putting out of business, they are not thinking of them.”

History also happened during the Symposium when Chris Barnard, Policy Director at the American Conservation Coalition, announced the launch of the International Declaration on Market Environmentalism. The Declaration, which has been read in over 93 countries, has more than 150 signatories representing 60 nations. The agreement assesses that climate change poses a real risk and “free markets and human ingenuity provide the most powerful means to overcome such risks.”

Specifically, the International Declaration affirms four principles: Market Economy, Private Property Rights, Decentralization, and Innovation and Optimism.

>>>Letters from Glasgow

The remainder of the day included discussions explaining how economic freedom is good for the environment, the role of sustainable finance, international trade and treaties, policy solutions for scaling innovation, and business strategies for clean capitalism.

The Climate and Freedom Symposium is emblematic of what direction conservatives are moving in. Rather than standing on the sidelines critiquing the big-government agenda of the environmental left, free-marketeers are offering durable solutions that meaningfully address climate change. While the tent is big, and proposed solutions vary, what we have seen this year at COP26 and specifically at the Climate and Freedom Symposium, is that climate is no longer an issue that conservatives are running from. Rather, it is an issue that they are ready to win. 

You can watch the full Symposium here.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

Copyright © 2020 Conservative Coalition for Climate Solutions

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