Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson is counting on scientists at Kansas University and elsewhere to solve the world’s global-warming problems.
That’s because government leaders, he figures, simply don’t have the knowledge, expertise or political will to get the job done.
“Everything that we have been doing to cure the climate change problem has been wrong, because what we have been doing is depending upon politicians — like me — when, in fact, the only real answer is in science,” Parkinson told about 150 students, faculty and others gathered Tuesday afternoon to hear him discuss “National Policy and Climate Change” at Spooner Hall on campus. “Politicians cannot solve this problem, but scientists can.”
Scientists need to continue their drive to create more efficient energy grids, searching for more efficient renewable energy sources and — yes — coming up with a new kind of zero-emission energy, one that doesn’t emit carbon or otherwise threaten the environment, he said.
But until then, he said, political leaders need to continue their push for encouraging conservation, spurring innovation and avoiding additions to the problem that shows few signs of abating in the decades ahead.
After his speech and a question-and-answer session, Parkinson deflected questions about his potential for becoming Kansas governor, should Gov. Kathleen Sebelius win Senate confirmation as President Barack Obama’s secretary of health and human services.
Sebelius has vowed to veto legislation that would permit construction of two coal-fired power plants in Holcomb, and Parkinson, on Tuesday, didn’t sound like the kind of guy who would veer from that stance should he move into the governor’s office.
“I don’t see a dramatic policy shift,” he said, while declining to discuss the specific legislation.
Parkinson said that he would prefer to see tax revenues generated by any “cap-and-trade” program be pumped into research-and-development efforts to create clean energy.