Posted // 2010-02-04 -
Global warming claims get legislators hot and bothered.
Climate change happens, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. What is not happening, however, is a definitive reason attributable to man.
People, put down the pitchforks, at least the ones pointed at me. That's not my argument, that's the argument made by Rep. Kerry Gibson, R-Ogden, in pushing HJR12. That resolution urges the Environmental Protection Agency to step away from regulating greenhouse gases as pollutants. It also originally referenced "tricks" played to support the global warming "conspiracy," although that was amended.
The resolution passed the House Natural Resources Committee Thursday morning, with only Rep. Phil Riesen, R-Salt Lake, voting against it.
First off, a little legislative education: resolutions mean nothing. Squat. They sound good and are great ways for mid-level legislators with a passion for a specific issue to rally their troops. Resolutions are also great time wasters, as evidenced by the 75 minutes spent by the committee railing against climate change.
Resolutions, however, make great political theater. And this debate was no exception. In short, here's the highlights:
- Gibson says that those who believe that man is causing global warming don't want to hear opposing viewpoints. They get emotional, which makes debate difficult. "When we become so emotional, the facts get lost. Too many times, when facts are presented on the other side, they are ignored by the so-called experts." He concluded by saying that the proponents of CO2 caps rely too heavily on "sky is falling" arguments.
- Randy Parker, Utah Farm Bureau chief executive officer, then tells the committee that, in fact, the sky is essentially falling because of proposed taxes taxes on CO2 production. "It will create energy shortages and will, in fact, create food shortages." Also, "alarmists have hijacked the debate," which apparently angers alarmists on the other side of the debate, like Parker. He next referenced the "global warming credibility crisis," and pointed to leaked e-mails as proof that this whole global warming issue is a sham. Taking a left turn into Messin' With The Big Dog Land, Parker spends a few minutes smacking around BYU professors who questioned a scientist who testified in 2009 to the committee, and demands that BYU apologize for the professors. Finally, he gets to the real heart of the matter: cow farts. Don't tax them.
- (Note: At this point, we're about 30 minutes into the hearing). Gibson and Parker expand on threat to farmers if cow farts are, indeed, taxed and energy prices rise due to the CO2 taxes, since farming cannot happen without using lots of coal power or fuel. Parker drives the nail home by asking, "Do Americans really want to rely on China, Mexico, and India to meet their basic needs?" In other words, the sky is falling, and it will suck for Americans when they have to climb the gigantic wall on the Mexican border to meet said basic needs.
- Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, asks a question. Well, he's supposed to. He basically rants about ... well, the sky falling. And global warming (human-caused) is a conspiracy that the weather is disproving.
- Riesen also asks a question, sort of. He talks about how he wants to protect Earth and air for future generations, because he will die in the next 20 years (but will live forever as the voice on Trax trains ... that is him, right?). I'd love to say he ranted, but he doesn't rant. (In fact, nobody rants like Noel, which is actually a skill I highly admire. He is really a Utah Republican version of Lewis Black.)
- Gibson says that what he really wants is substantive debate where everyone gets a chance to air their opinions on global warming. By the way, at this point, he has had the floor (which he shared with Parker) for almost an hour.
- Rep. John Mathis, R-Vernal, the committee chair, asks for public comment. He also reminds the public that the committee is running out of time, so they need to keep their comments "short and concise." You know, for the sake of debate.
- The public speaks, including a U. engineering professor who introduces the other side of the global warming debate into the mix with, well, blah blah blah (everyone has heard the reasons, right?) That, however, only incites another Noel rant that is, sadly, cut short by Mathis. Also, a couple of other industry folks who support the resolution testify.
- Noel rants, again. This time, it's about why the global warming research is part of a deep conspiracy. The committee, running out of time, soon passes the resolution.