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Archive for Thursday, February 13, 2014

Kansas House committee takes up climate change resolution

February 13, 2014

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— A Kansas House committee began weighing a resolution on Thursday that urges Congress to resist following President Barack Obama's plan for addressing man-made climate change during a hearing that highlighted the rival views on the role of humans in global warming.

Members of the House Energy and Environment Committee heard nearly two hours of testimony about the measure but took no action. The resolution cites Obama's 2013 plan that calls for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and encourages development of renewable forms of energy.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.N.-sponsored body, said in September with more certainty than before that humans are warming the planet, mainly through carbon emissions from the burning of oil, coal and gas.

But the two-page Kansas document declares that the federal climate change goals are based on false assumptions about the role of carbon dioxide and human activity. Supporters point to data that suggest warming is occurring naturally and human influence is overstated.

Rep. Dennis Hedke, chairman of the committee and a Wichita Republican, presented a slideshow with graphs indicating changes in temperature, weather and ice coverage going back as far as 10,000 years. He said the research shows that the Earth has gone through periods of cooling and warming long before the world became industrialized, suggesting the planet was experiencing another such natural warming period.

"That's real data," he said, adding that he didn't think controls on carbon dioxide emissions would be effective in achieving the goals Obama or environmentalists seek.

The World Meteorological Organization, the U.N. weather agency, says the warming of the planet since 1950 is "unprecedented" and the Earth will warm by at least 2 more degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) this century, unless the world drastically cuts emissions.

Sen. Forrest Knox said Thursday that the global debate was marked by "alarmists" who believe humans are contributing to global warming though the use of fossil fuels and other practices, while "skeptics" question the science behind those claims. He said a serious debate is needed where both sides respect the other's opinions and find common ground.

"The only thing you know for sure about the weather in Kansas, as you all know, is it's going to change," said Knox, an Altoona Republican. "That's all we really know about climate, too."

Environmentalists argue that the resolution is based on bad science and ignores data that emissions and human activity are altering sea levels and weather patterns.

Rabbi Moti Rieber said the scientific community is nearly united in its view that humans are affecting climate change and that such positions have been adopted by national academies of science worldwide. Rieber is director of Kansas Interfaith Power and Light, an organization of faith communities focused on environmental stewardship.

He said something was happening to the climate, noting that armadillos that previously never were found in Kansas are now found as far north as Topeka, while heartiness zones for gardening have shifted allowing for new plant varieties to thrive.

"Putting your fingers in your ears and humming is not an option," Rieber said. "I'd encourage you to stop doing it."

Comments

Greg Cooper 10 months, 2 weeks ago

And this resolution has exactly what to do with jobs, economic growth and the health and safety of Kansans?

TO THE LEGISLATURE: Get off the Tea Party bandwagon and toot your own horns. Be realistic, scientific, humanistic and quit dancing to the Koch drums. You look, at the least, silly to the nation and, at worst, criminally negligent in your care of the citizens of our state. Can you not see what puppets you've become? Is there enough money coming into your campaign coffers to actually make you close your eyes and ears to everything but your marching orders from anyone but your constituents?

TO THE CITIZENS OF KANSAS: Give yourselves a talking to. Do you believe that one group of people, different from you, should have fewer constitutional rights than you? Do you believe that this resolution, in light of hard scientific evidence, is a worthy use of your legislator's time? Do you believe that a state theocracy is the way you want to live?

For heaven's sake just get it together, Kansas. Don't let us be the laughingstock of the nation. Tell your legislators that you are sick of the grandstanding and that no amount of campaign contribution is worth the dumbing down of Kansas or the ramping up of anti-this, anti-that that has nothing to do with making your state and its citizens achieve the dreams our Constitution so strongly encourages and guards.

Seth Peterson 10 months, 2 weeks ago

"The only thing you know for sure about the weather in Kansas, as you all know, is it's going to change," said Knox, an Altoona Republican. "That's all we really know about climate, too."

Then you probably shouldn't be taking part in the decision making portion of this process, at least until you educate yourself and learn more.

James Howlette 10 months, 2 weeks ago

"He said a serious debate is needed where both sides respect the other's opinions and find common ground."

Since one side of the debate has valid science conducted by experts and the other side has googled PowerPoints from the Internets to tell them what they want to hear, I don't think there's much hope of "finding common ground." It's a case of "theories of the earth's shape differ."

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