Global Warming and local politics

A fairly obscure local race in Arizona may have national implications. One of our Arizona Corporation Commission Republican candidates has apparently won his tight race against a hugely funded Democrat candidate. Of the more than 1.6+ million votes cast for the two, the margin of victory was 462. A conservative majority in the ACC, which regulates our electric utility companies, may single-handedly initiate the debate that never happened on AGW. Only one candidate was needed to accomplish that majority. This 9/21/08 Arizona Republic article about the Western Climate Initiative plan summed it up:

Indeed, much of the plan's fate appears hinged to the Nov. 4 general election, when voters will determine the new makeup of the Legislature and Corporation Commission.

Both entities, now dominated by Republicans, will play a key role in whether the climate initiative is implemented or largely mothballed.

That was stunning news at the time, so to find out more, I dived right into the WCI's web site and the one for my own Governor Napolitano's Arizona Climate Action Initiative. Well, predictably the WCI seems to base its existence on wholesale acceptance of IPCC reports. As for the ACAI, it appears their entire reason for being is based on Napolitano's assumption that the science of AGW has been settled. Period. Sure enough, the study group the Governor established, the "Climate Change Action Group", confirms this outright in its 2006 report:

While some CCAG members may hold differing opinions about the science of climate change, the CCAG agreed at the outset of its deliberations not to debate climate change science in order to achieve the directive of Executive Order 2005-02 and move the CCAG process forward.

Not surprisingly, the ACAI's "Climate change -- Science" web page is word-for-word the same as the WCI's "Climate Change - Science" page, with the exception of two missing paragraphs. Start checking into the other partners and observers of the WCI and you see the same thing. They are all operating on the idea that the IPCC is infallible and that a "growing scientific consensus" or similar words to that effect validate AGW conclusions. The currently operating Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative only mentions the consensus, with no reference to the IPCC to be seen anywhere on its web site that I could find.

So I asked Governor Napolitano a month ago, via her web page contact, about the wisdom of endorsing the WCI plan when there is a plausible shadow of a doubt about AGW -- as a former Attorney General, she is familiar with that concept and the problems of not explaining away doubt about such subjects. No response yet. No responses directly to the shadow of a doubt problem from any of the other Governors and Canadian Premiers who are partners or observers with the WCI. I did receive a few responses of general appreciation for my concern, deflective statements about the benefits of less pollution and the need to search for for new sources of energy, or notes that my inquiry would be forwarded to their resident climate change experts. Only one of those experts responded, with general appreciation for my concern and deflective statements about the benefits of less pollution and the need to search for for new sources of energy.

My unanswered questions are simple: how do the Governors/Premiers and WCI justify a plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions when there are expert climatologists who say global warming may very well be caused by natural events beyond our control? Why do they say a "consensus" is enough to support their assumptions, while failing to explain away the presence of numerous AGW skeptic scientists? How do they explain the fundamental faults found in the IPCC reports and the appearance of agenda-driven IPCC motives? Why do these people offer no reaction to this? How can they have credibility in offering plans to solve AGW when there are such crippling problems with the idea of AGW itself?

There are myriad problems with the IPCC's conclusions. Just one example of a serious "shadow of a doubt" is detailed in this Jan 2005 Washington Post article
about the major dispute an NOAA hurricane researcher had with his then-current colleagues at the IPCC. For an example of agenda-driven politics, look no further than this American Thinker story about one of the most prominent scientists criticizing the science and motives of the IPCC, Dr. S Fred Singer.

And finally, everyone loves a good conspiracy angle, especially one aimed at the pro-AGW side. Quoting one of the losing Arizona Corporation Commission candidates prior to the election, Republican Marian McClure said about Democrat Sam George's enormous campaign budget: "How much money does one person have to have to put a half-million into getting a job? It boggles the mind" Perhaps his motivations go beyond his public 'solar advocation' platform...... if only it were that simple. Sam George is the former Sam Vagenas.

Sarah Fenske of the Phoenix New Times reported last July:

Sam Vagenas is one of the most interesting characters in recent Arizona political history. As a consultant, Vagenas made an absurd amount of money pushing the pot passions of lefty billionaires John Sperling, George Soros, and Peter B. Lewis in states around the country.

With their financial backing, Vagenas helped pass two pro-marijuana ballot initiatives here, only to see his efforts gutted by the Legislature. (He had to give up his third attempt because its clumsy phrasing would have freed medical marijuana users to deal drugs to kids - and actually required the Department of Public Safety to give out pot, for free. No joke.)