House committee ices climate change resolution but backs new emission-busting efforts


SALT LAKE CITY — A bill attempting to get the Utah Legislature to recognize a tepid accounting of human impacts on global climate — without any attached action or policy items — got the cold shoulder from a House committee on Tuesday, but the body did throw its support behind two bills aimed at mitigating some manmade emission sources.

Rep. Ray Ward, R-Bountiful, told the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee that his climate resolution, HCR1, really came down to a duo of important, but simple, concepts.

“To me, the most important parts of this resolution are the very first two sentences,” Ward said. “The two overarching points are that there has been warming of our planet and this is caused in part by human-(created) emissions.”

Ward attempted to back up these contentions, sharing data sets supporting assertions that included the planet is warming, Utah is warming, climate temperature is impacted by greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide levels are increasing in the atmosphere, and that there is significant scientific consensus on those basic facts.

Ward even walked the committee through some basic math equations to illustrate how human-caused carbon dioxide emissions are calculated and how closely those emission levels have been tracking over time with the rate CO2 levels have been increasing, globally.

Even though Ward’s presentation of his resolution’s intent — to simply recognize that climate change is a thing and that thing is caused, at least in part, by humans — was couched in a remedial science lesson, a number of committee members rebuked the ideas.

Rep. Scott Sandall, R-Trementon, said he questioned the impact of humans versus the natural global climate variations that have taken place over the course of history.

“If we’re using the last 150 years and we correlate that to the recent change in temperature, how do we explain that the Earth warmed enough to support crops …but 500 years ago it cooled enough to kill crops in northern Europe?” Sandall asked.

Rep. Derrin Owens, R-Fountain Green, said he’s sceptical of a scientific consensus on the human contribution to climate change, noting that smaller groups of scientists supported contradictory findings. He also wondered aloud about what role the sun is playing in contributing to global warming.

“The sun is 1.3 million times larger than the Earth,” Owens said. “Would that not be a dominate cause? I just can’t go there, that man is the cause of all this.”

Weber State University professor John Armstrong testified on behalf of himself in support of Ward’s resolution, dismissing the arguments of naysayers on the committee.

“Despite the testimony you’ve heard, I can pretty much sum up that climate change is happening, it’s caused by us and there are steps we can take to mitigate this,” Armstrong said. “We must stop denying the science on climate change.”

House Majority Whip Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City, made a motion for the committee to vote in support of HCR1, but a substitute motion to hold the bill won support instead on a 9-3 vote.

In spite of the decision to put the …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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