“The Utah Legislature was probably not ready for Gov. Jon Huntsman’s stance on climate issues,” said Utah Sierra Club's Mark Clemens.
The legislature is highly ideological and conservative, he explained, and the resolution “probably does reflect the state of mind of the Utah legislature, which is generally speaking completely influenced by fossil fuels.”
With resolutions like HJR 12 and , which urges the new governor to pull out of the Western Climate Initiative, they’re “sending a message to the fossil fuels industry that we are behind you 100 percent,” Clemens said.
Noel conveyed that message during last week's hearing, telling his committee colleagues,
“Sometimes we need to have the courage to do nothing.”
He also made his allegiance with the anti-climate action think tanks clear when he went after the BYU professors. On March 23, British business and policy consultant Lord Christopher Monckton will be in Utah, Noel said, and “we” have challenged the BYU professors to a debate.
It was SPPI, which promotes Monckton and other climate "skeptics", that challenged the scientists, with a phrased in a way that made the scientists think twice about agreeing to step into that forum. Monckton is a regular commentator against climate science who in Copenhagen drew attention by calling young climate activists “Nazi youth."
Noel didn't stop there. Forget Exxon's lobbying, it is scientists, he said, who have a vested interest. (This was the alleged "gravy train" removed from the resolution.)
“It sometimes takes an Einstein to disprove thousands and thousands of scientists,” he said.
Science and the Resolution
The resolution passed by the Utah House specifically urges the EPA to “immediately halt its carbon dioxide reduction policies and programs and withdraw its ‘Endangerment Finding’ and related regulations until a full and independent investigation of the climate data and global warming science can be substantiated.” The amendment approved on the House floor deleted a word from the original version, which had read: “climate data conspiracy.”
The reasoning for the resolution starts out with concerns about climate legislation resulting in “significantly higher energy costs to American consumers, business, and industry.”
It then declares that the EPA's endangerment finding is “based on flawed climate data and would place significant regulatory and financial burdens on all sectors of the nation's economy at a time when the nation's unemployment rate exceeds 10%.” (National unemployment was 9.7% in January, down from 10% in December; the bill was filed on Jan. 25, a week and a half before the January number was released. Utah’s unemployment rate was 8.3% in December.)
The resolution goes on to claim that there is “a well organized and ongoing effort to manipulate global temperature data in order to produce a global warming outcome,” and it cites the hacked emails between scientists at the Climate Research Unit at University of East Anglia and their colleagues.
The BYU scientists took on this point on in their latest .
“This is truly a case of a mountain made from a molehill,” the scientists write.
“With regard to the entire 'Climategate' issue, if investigation reveals that serious scientific misconduct occurred, we expect that appropriate actions will be taken. However, the influence of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations on global climate is well substantiated by careful research outside the Climate Research Unit.
“It is unwise for the Legislature to disregard the work of these scientists on the basis of allegations made against unrelated workers.”