By Ralph Schwartz
I’ve been branded a liberal before, and an elephant-hugging conservative. I’m OK with that. If you’re far enough on one side of the spectrum, just about everyone will look like they’re on the other side.
There’s an issue I have drawn a conclusion about. It’s not a political issue, it’s a scientific one — but somehow it has gotten stuck in the political arena, and a lot of meaningful carbon-controlling legislation in this country has suffered as a result.
Global warming is real, and it’s being caused in large part by humans burning fossil fuels. The No. 1 source of human-caused atmospheric carbon dioxide in our state is transportation.
The equations are hard, but the scientific concepts are straightforward. Carbon dioxide absorbs infrared radiation (heat) emitted from the earth and re-emits it back down to the earth. That’s what makes it a “greenhouse gas.” The more carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere, the greater the greenhouse effect.
Increasing CO(2) in the atmosphere is easily measured. So are the increasing temperatures globally. There is at least one unfortunate local consequence of global warming — the ocean is absorbing some of the excess carbon dioxide, increasing the water’s acidity and threatening survivability of shellfish (and the attendant industry).
It’s 2013, and people won Nobel Peace Prizes years ago for their work on the science of global warming. Year after year, we continue to have “one of the hottest years on record.” Scientists say old projections of temperature increases are being exceeded.
In this “atmosphere” of scientific understanding, Western Washington University climate contrarian Don Easterbrook will take up the time of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee on Tuesday, March 26, to counter Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s climate change bill (SB 5802).
Easterbrook, professor emeritus of geology at Western, is welcomed by the committee’s chairman, Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale.
Here’s Ericksen’s statement on Easterbrook, released today:
“As chairman of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee, my goal from day one of this session has been to operate in an open, transparent manner and allow multiple views to come forward. Earlier in the session, the governor gave his side of the issue and now we’ll hear from an expert with a different viewpoint.”
I find it interesting the primary sponsor of the bill to be challenged is also on the above-mentioned Senate committee — Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island. He’s very active in combating global warming.
Sen. Ranker is probably in committee as I type this, and I expect to hear his thoughts on Easterbrook’s appearance later today. If I get them, I’ll add them here.