Letter to the editor: Climate solutions

To the editor:

I’ve always been proud to be a Kansan living in Lawrence. In our oasis and in other Kansas communities, we’re an educated, problem-solving, open-minded people. We are not self-centered, short-sighted, intent on comfort or averse to sacrifice. We understand common interest over personal comfort.

History and, recently, the global-warming threat demonstrate that markets, by themselves, do not remedy market failures. Governments do. In the aftermath of the Cold War, conservatives and liberals agreed that market-based democracies had done a better job than centrally planned ones at providing goods and services. Yet decades of deregulated capitalism have led to environmental damage on a scale that threatens the very prosperity it was meant to generate.

We need more conversation about the appropriate role of government in fostering innovation, remedying market failure and tackling issues like a super-charged climate system and its related disasters. We need governance to foster the technologies needed to meet our energy demands without destroying the natural world. Government is not the solution, but it has to be part of the solution. Once the government lays the foundations for new technologies, the private sector will step in to do what it does best, which is not to invent them but to sell them.

A common American error is to believe that freedom is the absence of state authority. History shows that although state authority can be abused, its absence does not lead to liberty. Its absence opens the door to tyranny and tragedy. Charles and David Koch have used their fortune to smear government and mainstream climate science as a “conspiracy.” Please write Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins and ask her to join the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. There are currently 26 Republican congressmen and 26 Democrats on the caucus. Kansas needs a seat at the table.