Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Utah Escapes Global Climate Change Thanks to New Governor

I remember when Utah used to have a really normal, really smart, really pragmatic man running our state. Now we have Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert. As Gov. Huntsman begins the process of being confirmed by the Senate to take the post of Ambassador to China, he has turned the reigns over to L.G. Herbert.

This is what we call the old bait-and-switch. We are sold on a product that we like a lot and that we want to own, in this case Gov. Huntsman. Then at the last minute we get a somewhat similar product that is different enough to be of much less value, in this case L.G. Herbert. We've been betrayed. I never thought I'd have this deep sense of longing for a Republican.

So right off the bat L.G. Herbert, at the Western Governor's Association meeting, attired in the classic all-black look, professes his serious doubts on climate change and publicly mulls over whether to remove Utah from the Western Climate Initiative. Thanks for everything, Huntsman, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

By the way, can't you just imagine ultra-conservative L.G. Herbert gritting his teeth as the late Gov. Huntsman enrolled Utah in the WCI, supported civil unions and other gay rights, criticized Congressional Republicans as "irrelevant," and generally made of mockery of Utah County-style extreme conservatism? But all those worn down teeth finally paid off, L.G. Herbert, because you're in charge now.

Now, I'm no scientist. Far from it. So lets take a look at the institutions that consider climate change very likely (in scientific parlance "very likely" means 90% to 99% chance it is true) a man-made problem: the U.S. EPA, the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, NASA, the U.S. Geologic Survey, the U.S. Climate Change Science Program which include thirteen federal agencies (for those keeping track, we now have every scientific body of the United States government), the United Nations, Science Magazine, MIT, the National Academies, Britain's Royal Meteorological Society, and on and on and on. If you are able to find a scientific body that disagrees, by all means bring it forward.

But let's listen to what L.G. Herbert has to say:
"I've heard people argue on both sides of the issue, people I have a high regard for. People say man's impact is minimal, if at all, so it appears to me the science is not necessarily conclusive."
Hmmm. Compelling. "People" do say that. My uncle, for instance. Also, a guy in my neighborhood. Keep going, LGH.
"Is there a hidden agenda out there? Help me understand the science."
Yes, every-major-scientific-body-in-the-world-that-has-studied-the-issue, do help us understand.
Herbert told the Deseret News after the discussion he wasn't convinced because all he heard was "the science is conclusive, the science is over. The debate is done. I'm saying, 'Based on what?' "
Seriously, LGH. Somebody show us what the conclusion to this debate is based on. Because if you're just going to point to a bunch of scientific reports, no thanks. Rather . . .
He said polls have shown the public is divided on the issue.

"I think people are confused," he said. "Most people are ignorant of the issue. They all say it sounds good until all of a sudden you've got $4-a-gallon gasoline."
The clincher! I think we can all agree that when it comes to science and major global environmental issues, we should base our reasoning and conclusions on divided public polls and people that are unhappy about high gas prices.

This is going to be our new governor? Ugh. We can debate about just how bad global warming is going to be, and what steps should be taken to best protect us and sustain us, but there simply is no more debate over the fact that human-caused global climate change is real and it is serious. The debate is over based on scientific facts and consensus. It's not haughty to say so, it is haughty to think that you know better.

But my favorite LGH line comes way at the bottom of the story: "regardless of the debate on the science, I'm a capitalist." Thanks for clearing that up, Herbie: Science and capitalism are now mutually exclusive. Science is for commies.


winkieburger said...

The frustration I feel when people deny global warming is the same frustration I felt when people had a hard time choosing between McCain and Obama.

Andrew said...

...Or fascists! Anyways, yes, it is a shame that Utah lost its interesting governor and got something much more doctrinaire. I'm hoping that means the more interesting ex-governor gets a few moments on the national stage, or gains more political influence as we need more of his kind of conservativism in the world. If that were the case, the crazies would still be wandering around leaderless and disorganized, and we'd all enjoy a much more peaceful existence. People talk about "bipartisanship"; in todays climate that's practically impossible because one side of the aisle refuses to accept reality on a whole host of issues. Nevertheless, I hold out hope that the more level-headed amongst the conservatives will somehow gain control of the Republican party.

Laurel Nelson said...

What a maroon. I hate Utah Republicans. I'm glad I got the heck out of there and only have to deal with Alaska Republicans!

Matthew said...

Clearly it was no a very smart comment. I would call him a fascists or a moron though. We have yet to see what this guy is capable of. There have been a few politicians in the past that have been better with management then with the press. I don’t really see what a moderate state level politician can do about global climate change anyways. Its sounds like we just become too needy a wish our politicians would support every cause we do.