Posts Tagged ‘Environment’

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:

  1. Gibson says that those who believe that man is causing global warming don’t want to hear opposing viewpoints. They also 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 also said that the proponents of CO2 caps rely too heavily on “sky is falling” arguments.
  2. 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 also references the “global warming credibility crisis,” and points 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.
  3. (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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.)
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

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Wolf vs. Man

The Lone Wolf

A conference of Western attorneys generals in Sun Valley has yielded an interesting environmental tidbit: wolves will be shot this year, whether legal or not.

That was the assessment from Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner Randy Budge, according to a story from the Idaho Mountain Express.  He was referencing lawsuits filed by conservation groups following a decision from the federal government that wolves could be hunted.  So far, it looks like Montana will allow up to 75 wolves to be shot, while Idaho hunters may get to take wolves numbering in the hundreds.

Wolves are incredibly noble creatures, rare to see wild, symbolic for many people, and absolutely spine-tingling to hear howl.  They also kill livestock, which even if only a small part of the overall livestock economy can deal significant blows to individual ranchers.

Initially, I planned to write a post about the unnecessary and puzzling need for people to kill wolves, something I still don’t understand if the motivation is simply to kill a wolf.  But the original draft didn’t sit right.  Despite my deep love of nature and disgust at urbanites who move to the woods and then want the trees, bears, coyotes, and every other natural “nuisance” removed, I know ranchers and farmers.  I was raised in sheep country in central Utah, and most of those who raised livestock for a living balanced on a thin financial line.  If they need to kill wolves to protect themselves … killing wolves doesn’t sit right with me, but neither does protecting them at the expense of small ranchers.  (My sympathy does not extend to corporate feed lots or their ilk.  The greater their losses, the better, as far I’m concerned).

So instead of mocking those who need to kill for the sake of killing, I simply make a plea: respect the animal.  If a rancher kills a wolf to protect his herd, the least he could is somehow return that wolf to the natural world.  Don’t stuff it and put it in the living room, don’t turn it into a rug.  If hunting wolves is desirable, at least do it with dignity.  Pursue the wolf through the wilderness, as a predator, instead of flying in a plane and targeting the animals as if playing a video game.  And as with any hunting or fishing endeavor, appreciate the magnitude of what you have done.  Feel the animal’s blood leaving it body, look in its dead eyes.  At least give it that much respect.

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