Thursday, November 15, 2007

And You Thought the Arizona Legislature Was Bad

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2007 at 10:49 AM

Kentucky lawmakers are tackling global warming. If, by tackling, you mean dismissing the whole idea. Doesn't sound like they've gotten the memo on sustainability yet.

John Cheves of the Lexington Herald-Leader brings us this news:

Global warming is a myth concocted by former Vice President Al Gore, the United Nations, Hollywood and the news media, Kentucky lawmakers were told yesterday.

More from Cheves:

Chairman Jim Gooch, D-Providence, a longtime ally of the coal industry, said he purposefully did not invite anyone who believes in global warming to testify.

"You can only hear that the sky is falling so many times," said Gooch, whose post makes him the House Democrats' chief environmental strategist. "We hear it every day from the news media, from the colleges, from Hollywood."

Neither of Gooch's invited panelists was a scientist.

James Taylor is a lawyer and fellow with the Heartland Institute, a free-market think-tank in Chicago partially funded by ExxonMobil. Lord Christopher Monckton, the 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, is a British journalist and onetime adviser to then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Monckton generated controversy during the 1980s with his recommendation--which he repeated for lawmakers yesterday--that people diagnosed with HIV or AIDS be locked up for life.

"Twenty years ago we could have stopped this disease from spreading worldwide by treating it just like any other fatal, infectious disease, by making it notifiable, so people who got it were isolated--and in the kindest and nicest way--but isolated so they couldn't spread it to everybody else," he said.

And a final detail worth noting:

Several committee members protested that it was unfair to hear only one side of the argument, so Gooch let two environmentalists in the audience talk about global warming--and the need to address it--for about five minutes each. One of them, Andy McDonald, solar energy co-coordinator for Appalachia-Science in the Public Interest, complained that hastily plucking two people for brief rebuttals of a two-hour presentation wasn't fair or balanced.

"It really wasn't my intention to get into so much science today," Gooch replied.

Before the hearing, Gooch said he called the Heartland Institute once he decided to address global warming and asked for any skeptical experts it might send. Scientists weren't necessary, he said.

"Well, I mean, where are we going to get scientists?" Gooch asked. "We're limited here in Kentucky to what we can do. I don't know how we'd necessarily get scientists to come here."

A short drive to the east, at the University of Kentucky, geologist Brandon Nuttall said he wasn't aware of yesterday's hearing, but he disputed its premise.

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