Friday, February 24, 2017

Questions for a town hall: Climate Change

My zipcode is 84103 and nobody paid me to say this.

#TownhallHatch - website
#TownhallLee - website
#TownhallStewart - website

Nice windmill!
Gentlemen, I've been going over your websites, and in your "issues" sections, I don't see any positions about the environment, and in particular, nothing about what many perceive to be the greatest existential threat to the United States and the world. That seems a little short-sighted.  Thank you, Representative Stewart, for at least acknowledging alternative energy and putting a picture of a windmill on there.

Searching through your websites for "climate change" did turn up some information: 

  1. Thank you, Senator Hatch, for pushing for the advancement of nuclear energy - I agree with you that it's a logical thing to do.  
  2. Y'all are worried that what we do in the U.S. isn't enough to make a difference.  I agree - the Paris Climate Agreement is probably a good start, eh?  Just because Obama signed it doesn't mean it's bad, right?
  3. What about China?  We have that bilateral agreement.  Can we stick to that?
  4. Y'all don't seem to like cap-and-trade.  It's market-based!  Mike Leavitt likes it!
Trying to figure out if you believe that humans contribute to climate change led me to these articles that say you don't.  If that's not the case any more, feel free to correct me.  If people don't change their minds when presented with new information we'd be in a sorry state.

If you don't believe the scientific consensus, then how about insurance companies? How about the U.S. military? How about Exxon

Question 1:
What would it take for you to agree that climate change is real, humans contribute to it, and we'd better react to it?

 Yes, we have coal and oil in Utah, and those things will become more profitable as the world runs out of them. We can use fracking and maybe more extreme methods in the future to get at those resources - at the cost of earthquakes like in Oklahoma and environmental damage. You seem determined to pin Utah and America’s future on this. Wouldn’t it make more sense to encourage solar and wind and maybe nuclear as an energy source? There’s still a market for petroleum products - plastics and other things. There are lots of jobs in alternative energy, and there’s lots of room for innovation and infrastructure building. How about that?

You say it’s not the government’s job to pick winners and losers. You’re right - they shouldn’t arbitrarily pick industries and declare them winners or losers. On the other hand, it should be your job to make America a winner - not just for the next election cycle, but for when you and I are dead and gone and our kids and their kids are running the place. And making us 'winners' doesn’t have to mean that the rest of the world loses.

Question 2:  

Describe what you think Utah, the U.S., and the world looks like in a hundred years if we stick with fossil fuels versus going big on alternative energy.

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