Mr. Benyon wrote an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, in which he called out the Australian prime minister for rescinding the country's carbon tax, pulling government support for renewable energy and increasing his nation's exposure to climate risks.
Abbott's dismissal of climate science and his belief that Australia must choose between economic growth and tackling climate change speak to a distorted vision of what it means to be a conservative.
True conservative values include distaste for over-regulation and enthusiasm for entrepreneurialism. But they also include a respect for sound science and economics, a belief in protecting the natural world and a responsibility to do the best for the biggest possible number of one's citizens.
The first leader of any major nation to call for a United Nations treaty on climate change was Margaret Thatcher – Britain's greatest postwar Prime Minister and a standard bearer for the political right.
As a scientist she saw the threat posed by climate change. But she also believed in a vision of economic growth that went beyond the immediate interests of major corporations: "We must have continued economic growth in order to generate the wealth required to pay for the protection of the environment. But it must be growth which does not plunder the planet today and leave our children to deal with the consequences tomorrow."
Benyon may have written that Abbott "distorted" what it means to be a conservative but I'm betting in the first draft he used "perverted." For that's what our own Sideshow Steve has done. He's perverted conservatism in Canada, raised his hind leg and pissed all over anything Edmund Burke would have recognized as conservative.