Incoming WGA Chair: Debate Not Over

by Paul Chesser, Heartland Institute Correspondent on June 16, 2009

The global warming issue finally came up yesterday at the annual Western Governors Association meeting in Park City, Utah, where the news is that alarmist sympathizer Jon Huntsman Jr. — the (Republican) host governor, outgoing WGA chairman, and next ambassador to China — will be replaced in Utah by more skeptical (Republican) Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert. While President Obama had high-level officials (Energy Secretary Stephen Chu and White House Council on Environmental Quality head Nancy Sutley) there to push the “debate is over” lie, Herbert demanded more conclusive proof.

But perhaps most surprising were comments by Democrat Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, the incoming WGA chairman, and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, former Democrat Governor of Iowa. Both said the debate — at least from the public’s perspective — is far from over. The Salt Lake Tribune reported:

Montana Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who replaced Republican Huntsman on Sunday as chairman of the Western governors group, agreed that, for many, the reality of climate change remains unproven.

Some people “think it’s a bunch of hooey,” he said in an interview. “You just have to get in my pickup truck and ride around with me a little bit. The debate is not over.”

And the Deseret News noted what Vilsack has heard:

The closest any of the participants came to talking about any disagreement with climate change was U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who said farmers and ranchers are “extremely skeptical of all this” because of their concern over costs. “I think we have an argument to make,” Vilsack said.

Chu was undeterred (as the Salt Lake Tribune reported):

But Chu was matter of fact. Climate change is real and happening faster than scientists previously warned.

“The news is getting scary,” said the Nobel Prize-winning physicist. “But the most scary thing in my mind is the [scientific] observations. People can be entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.”

Chu apparently brought along his own facts, and the ones like no global temperature increase in 10 years and no sign of climate change in the Antarctic ice shelves, he left at home. Thank God for Herbert’s presence (as the Deseret News reported):

“I’ve heard people argue on both sides of the issue, people I have a high regard for,” Herbert said. “People say man’s impact is minimal, if at all, so it appears to me the science is not necessarily conclusive….”

“What are we doing to bring people together?” Herbert asked. “Is there a hidden agenda out there? Help me understand the science.”

Herbert acknowledged he’s new to the association’s discussions and said he didn’t want to be contrary. But he said polls have shown the public is divided on the issue.

All Chu and Sutley were interested in helping the governors understand was their one-sided alarmist propaganda.

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