What will new 'climate zombie' Congress be like? Ask Utah
Nobody knows for sure what things will be like, or how bad they will get, once the type of people who are comfortable rejecting the conclusions of the top 80 scientific bodies of the world take power.
Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 02:43
IGNORANCE, NOT BLISS: Some people stick their heads in the sand when it comes to environmental realities. (Photo: The Sierra Club/Flickr)
In a spectrum of government priorities on environment, with one end representing an official policy to actively promote destructive industries, and the other being progressive political and popular support for protecting wilderness, Utah's motto might as well be "Industry."
Actually, that is Utah's motto.
I know there are a lot of people in this country who are terrified that the new Congress is going to set the country — and the world, for that matter — way back on climate and energy policy. But what will these elected "climate zombies" actually do with their majority? R. L. Miller (who brought us the term "climate zombie") has compiled a few great theories, but nobody knows for sure what things will be like, or how bad they will get once the type of people who are comfortable rejecting the conclusions of the top 80 scientific bodies of the world take power. So it's worth taking a look at what's going on in Utah, where this scenario has been playing out for years.
Most wild-eyed deniers think climate change is a vast conspiracy and/or the most elaborate hoax in history. The majority of humans on earth look upon such people as either ignorant or mentally ill. In the U.S. they're given inappropriately equal play in the media. But in Utah, such folks get elected and pass state resolutions officially declaring such conspiracies as fact. The following words are not copied from a troll commenting on an article about Al Gore, they're enshrined forever in Utah's House Joint Resolution 12: "[There is] a well organized and ongoing effort to manipulate global temperature data in order to produce a global warming outcome." This prompted a group of scientists from the ultra-conservative, Mormon-owned Brigham Young University in Utah county to respond with a letter to the legislature chastising them for ... being zombies, a move for which the scientists were asked to apologize. We don't question leaders in Utah. Not when there's Industry at stake.
HJR 12 isn't legally binding, but it is designed to go after the authority of the EPA. So. Deniers in power attack the EPA. Deniers in Congress can actually affect the authority of the EPA. The EPA needs to read this field guide. Twice.
Our governor here in Utah is a graduate of real estate college and an accidental authority. Gary Herbert was former Utah governor Jon Huntsman's lieutenant governor (Huntsman recognized the need to heed climate science and was an advocate for the Western Climate Initiative. Obama, who came in behind Slim Goodbody in the 2008 election in Utah, punished us by sending Huntsman to China.)
What was I saying? Oh, yea. Herbert.
Herbert is a climate zombie, too. After taking office, he got the idea to hold what he assumed would be the first real debate on the topic of man-made versus natural global warming. When he couldn't get any reputable people to argue on behalf of the deniers, he cancelled under the pretense that the topic was "too emotional." Now Gary has moved on to developing a ten-year energy plan for the state. At a series of public meetings on the issue, Herbert was told by citizen after citizen that we need to focus on renewable energy, that they were worried about their children, etc. Gary may have paid a little more attention when Tim DeChristopher stood up and warned him that "a continued reliance on fossil fuels is a declaration of war agasint the living and will be met in-kind." But really, who knows.
When the draft of the plan was released, it confirmed what most survival-minded, non-zombie Utahns expected: Herbert's energy plan was an attempt to justify the sale of some real estate, for the sake of industry.
I guess what I'm getting at, America, is if you let them in, there's no cure until a new election comes around. They can't be reasoned with. Stop letting these people get elected. Engage in the process, however you can, from writing a letter to civil disobedience. Own your power to make a difference. There are those who express their dissatisfaction with politics by refusing to vote or participate at all — and that is the stupidest option, by far, that I've mentioned anywhere in this post.