Editor’s note: This commentary is by Bob Stannard, a former lobbyist, who is still an author and musician. This piece first appeared in the Bennington Banner.
Well you’re fussin’ and you’re fightin’
‘cause you have a little doubt
Let’s get together and try to work it out, 100 years
100 years from now.
Ya know it won’t really matter much
100 years from now
– Mark Hummel
In 1914 there were 1.8 billion people enjoying life on planet earth. The skies were clearer. The polar ice caps were larger. The seas were lower.
The people of 1914 were blissfully reaping the benefits of the Industrial Revolution. Halfway through that year America entered World War I. Prior to this time the parts per million of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere had never exceeded 300.
Visit the NASA site climate.nasa.gov and you will see from 100 years to today the line indicating the increase in carbon is vertical. Carbon levels, and population, have been on the rise for the past 100 years.
The International Panel on Climate Change, the leading international organization for the assessment of climate change, has issued a report on its website: www.ipcc.ch. They’ve determined that human beings are responsible for the increase in CO2.
In an interview with Paul Heintz of Seven Days, Sen. Hartwell provided Vermonters with some disturbing insight as to his thinking on energy policy.
Is it a coincidence that 100 years ago CO2 levels were near the previous 400,000 years levels? It seems as though one does not have to be a scientist to see the direct correlation between population increase and CO2 increase over the past 100 years. However, if the obvious isn’t obvious enough then there is a wealth of credible information from approximately 97 percent of the world’s scientists confirming the obvious, which is that we now have 7.5 billion people on the planet and the highest CO2 levels of all time.
That global warming is the result of man’s need for more and more things should be a no-brainer. Yet there are those who insist that global warming is a hoax created by someone; environmentalists, I guess. For what purpose I’m not exactly sure.
There are those who refuse to believe that global warming of today is not man-made but is the result of some sort of natural occurrence yet undefined. Those most notable on the national level who insist that global warming is a hoax are folks like Rush Limbaugh, fossil fuel industry spokesperson Patrick Moore, Gov. Rick Perry, Glenn Beck, Sen. Jim Inhofe, who says the Bible says global warming is a hoax, and of course, the Koch brothers.
Here in Vermont we have a state senator, Bob Hartwell, who serves as chair of the Senate Natural Resources Committee and appears to be joining the ranks of the aforementioned in questioning whether climate change is the result of too many humans or some other, natural forces.
In an interview with Paul Heintz of Seven Days, Sen. Hartwell provided Vermonters with some disturbing insight as to his thinking on energy policy. I had posted the headlines on Facebook, which drew a response from Sen. Hartwell saying that he was misquoted. The reporter disagreed and published the entire interview, which can be read here.
There are a couple of things that I take away from this interview. First Hartwell does show concern for land use development as it pertains to utilities, which is good. However, he demonstrates a lack of knowledge of the process by pointing out that Act 250 disallows development over 2,500 feet, yet wind developers get their projects OK’d. He knows, or should know, that utility projects do not come under Act 250. They are regulated by Act 248. If he wants utility projects to come under Act 250 then he should change the law.
More disturbing is his answer to this question: “Is the science, or what you read in the papers, do you find that to be not true? Like the stuff that the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], which just released that big report on climate change, do you disagree with their conclusions?”
Hartwell relied: “It’s hard. It’s hard. And I’m not sure. You know, there’s so much of it out there now. Now there’s a lot of dispute to make it worse. There’s a lot of science that says it isn’t happening the way the climate change — the really aggressive commentators — say it is. There’s other very credible people who say it isn’t true. So now I’m beginning to — I don’t know what to think, to tell you the truth. But I don’t think that just because — it’s ideology for some people. That’s what’s happened. And if you’re not with them on their claims, you know, then you’re somehow old-fashioned or not with it. And that’s simply not true.”
It’s clear that he does not accept the work of 97 percent of the world’s scientists who unanimously believe the obvious: that global warming of today is manmade.
He takes issue with “extremists.” One could argue that Vermonters for Clean Environment, the organization of which he once held an executive position, could be viewed as extremists. If we follow Sen. Hartwell’s lead, then we can be assured that nothing of significance will ever happen to address the most significant issue facing the world today.
Ya know it won’t really matter much 100 years from now …