Park City lawmaker says he does not believe man causes global warming
February 23, 2010
State lawmakers who represent Summit County say the Environmental Protection Agency should not regulate carbon dioxide in its effort to manage climate change.
Some scientists have exaggerated the impact carbon dioxide has on the environment, said state Rep. Kerry Gibson, the Ogden Republican sponsoring House Joint Resolution 12.
The Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee voted 4-2 to approve the resolution Feb. 21. HJR 12 has now advanced to the full Senate. The state House of Representatives has already voted 56-17 to approve the legislation.
HJR 12 urges the federal government to "cease its carbon dioxide reduction policies, programs, and regulations until climate data and global warming science are substantiated."
Rep. Mel Brown, a Republican who represents most of Summit County, voted for the resolution.
"I believe in climate change but I don’t believe man caused it," Brown said in a telephone interview. "The climate is going to continue to change. But I don’t think that man’s contribution has had any effect on it."
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Regulation of carbon dioxide by the federal government could hurt industry in the state, Brown said.
"The whole world is moving too fast on climate change and we need to show the science is right before we spend millions and millions of dollars on it," Brown said.
Rep. Christine Johnson, a Democrat who represents parts of the Snyderville Basin, voted against HJR 12.
Meanwhile, Gibson said his non-binding statement to the federal government about global warming has made him the target of "blatant and disrespectful" attacks this legislative session.
"Many people tend to draw lines and those lines become somewhat personal at times," Gibson said.
Students, college professors and activists spoke out against House Joint Resolution 12 at the Senate hearing Friday.
The legislation includes "a string of scientific arguments that are either false or misleading," said Barry Bickmore, a professor of geochemistry at Brigham Young University.
Climate change "is the greatest moral issue facing mankind today," former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson added.
"We are facing a climate crisis caused by the burning of coal, oil and gas," Anderson said.
Andrew Jorgensen, a professor of environmental science at the University of Utah, said he also disagrees with HJR 12.
"It troubles me as a father," Jorgensen said. "What kind of message does this send to the children of our wonderful state?"
Proponents of HJR 12 said federal legislation and actions by the state to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions will result in higher energy costs for Utahns.
"The science is not in on this," Utah Farm Federation spokesman Sterling Brown said.
Brown said he supports HJR 12.
But Park City Mayor Dana Williams said he disagrees with the legislation.
"The majority of the world does think there is something going on and the fact that our state is taking that position, I think is unfortunate," Williams said.