Look, we can talk about this for days, and it won't make a bit of difference with Ryan. He is simply convinced that no good can come from a pro-environmental position in the Federal government.
Forget the fact that the Hoover Dam and the TVA have both been turning a profit for the Feds since they first went online... and that is going back nearly 75 years. While neither of these projects were developed BECAUSE they were "green", the fact that they are, and have turned millions of dollars of profits back to the Federal coffers, should not be considered because Al Gore might feel justified in his Nobel Prize and his Oscar nomination.
We could discuss the fact (FACT) that there is already a CO2-to-algae system in place in NM that takes 100% of the carbon emissions of a coal electrical plant and grows algae with it, which is then used to distill ethanol that is sold as a pharmaceutical product (for a profit), and the algae is then dried and compressed into bricks, which are then used to supplement the coal used in the very same power plant that started the whole process. Coal consumption at this plant is reduced by as much as 15%, carbon emissions are eliminated, and the profits from the alcohol and fuel by-products increase the return to the power company and allow for greater flexibility in pricing. This kind of waste-conversion process takes about 2 years to implement and 9 years to pay for... but it would legitimize the Algorian "carbon"-phobia that so many on the left are indulging in on a daily basis, so no Federal incentives or efforts in this realm of environmentalism is worth discussing, either.
We could discuss the simple FACT that there are more trees on the North American continent right NOW than there was when the Founding Fathers penned the Constitution, but then we'd have to discuss the fact that it was mainly because of "environmental" measures like the efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps (founded in 1933 by FDR to put 250,000 young men to work) planting trees and forests and building river levies and dikes. These efforts ended the threat of "dust bowls", rampant annual river flooding along the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio rivers, and erosion of arable soil due to rain and drought, while putting one quarter of a million young Americans to work, providing health and housing incentives, and teaching them how to remain productive citizens after the program ended... but to discuss the applicability of such benefits today might lend credence to liberal causes.
We could discuss these, and many more fine examples of the profitability of environmental causes within the government... but then we'd have to discuss the failings of such administrations as Ron Reagan's when it came to just such issues, and the legacy of Cabinet members like James Watt. No one recalls the names of the men who replaced Watt... or that the second one, Hodel, was quoted as saying "...that America could have both an improving environment and an adequate energy supply. We did not and do not have to choose between them, as some have contended. . . ." What American remembers is the disaster that was Watt's reign as Secretary of the Interior.
Conservatives would have to face the reality that the environment is a real issue with the voting public in America, and they will listen when it is brought up. The US has seen the effects of Chernobyl, they recall the black skies over Iraq in '91, they have lived the smog emergencies of Los Angeles and Denver, and they have witnessed Lake Erie actually burn. They have also seen many of these domestic and foreign disasters cleaned up... there are no more lakes of oil in Iraq. Lake Erie doesn't cover the beaches with foam that can be ignited with a match. There are no more needles and diapers washing ashore in New Jersey from the dumping of NYC trash into the Atlantic Ocean. You can't even see any oil on the rocky shores of Valdez Bay in Alaska anymore.
Not that Ryan would remember this ad, but there was a commercial on TV in the late 70's where an American Indian stood looking over an Interstate highway, surrounded by the trash and refuse that was choking the dried grass along the highway... and crying. That commercial was one of the most successful advertisements in US television history. Why? Because the US is a bleeding-heart, tree-hugging nation of bird-watching saps?
We take our heritage and our resources seriously here. From the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson, this nation has recognized its richest asset as the vast and (still largely) untapped resources of our land. Water, oil, coal, mineral, precious metals, vast forests (larger now than ever), productive farms that are capable of feeding 350 million Americans and as many as 200 million other people EACH YEAR... these are what American are thinking about when they think of preserving the environment.
Yes, there are very vocal wackos out there that want to regulate every single aspect of stewardship that the country might think to take on... but you will always have wackos. Just like there will always be people like James Watt, who couldn't care less about stewardship and want only to make it possible to turn a buck at every venture available.
Is there no common ground?