State regulators attending the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) meeting in Washington this week revealed a surprising lack of agreement on whether climate change is actually taking place.
NARUC’s Energy Committee ran a panel titled You’re Still Not Sure Global Warming Is Real?, E&E Publishing reports, and “a handful of commissioners made it clear they fell into the ‘not sure’ category.”
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Alabama Public Service Commissioner Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh dismissed the evidence for humanity’s role in climate change as “junk science” and expressed concern that the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan would raise energy bills. (One study for NRDC pointed to $37 billion in energy savings, as well as 274,000 new jobs.) Montana Commissioner Roger Koopman described climate action as “an unbelievable drain on the economic vitality of the world, the more we institute these policies, particularly in the U.S.”
“It is way too often that you have the loudest naysayers saying, ‘I’m not a climate scientist, but …,’” countered Maryland Public Service Commissioner Kelly Speakes-Backman. “I’m not a climate scientist, either, so I rely on the 97% of scientists who say climate change is real and that it’s caused by humans. And so now, let’s get on from there, and let’s figure out what to do.”
Joe Casola, Staff Scientist at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, drew a couple of analogies to explain the role of human activity in a warming climate. “It’s kind of like, how many cigarettes do you need to smoke to get lung cancer?” he said. “How many cheeseburgers do you need to have a heart attack?” (h/t to Midwest Energy News for pointing us to this story)