The subject seems to have fallen out of vogue in politics. The president didn’t mention the words global warming or climate change in his State of the Union address on Tuesday. He did talk about investment in “clean energy” but primarily in the context of spurring innovation and job development – not saving the planet.
Meanwhile, Sonoma County has pledged to reduce emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2015, the most ambitious goal set by any Bay Area community. But the issue didn’t really come up at the State of the County breakfast in Rohnert Park last week. In fact, right after the breakfast, Ann Hancock, director of the county’s Climate Protection Campaign, came up to me to share her frustrations that the focus of remarks by Jerry Nickelsburg, senior economist at UCLA Anderson Forecast, was in the opposite direction – building infrastructure and housing to grow the California’s state’s economy. There was no mention of green jobs or green technology. Are they just not that significant?
It will be interesting to hear whether and how much Gov. Jerry Brown raises the issue during his state of the state address on Monday.
To keep the discussion alive, we’re publishing a Close to Home on Friday from retired Sonoma State University professor Lou Miller who takes on Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., for continuing to label global warming as a “hoax,” particularly given the snow storms dumping on the East Coast.
“The security, competitiveness and prosperity of the United States depend on our competence in science and technology,” Miller writes. “Our country’s leaders need to pay tribute to, not denigrate, our hard-working and honest scientists and, as we’ve been doing since the Revolutionary War, pay heed to their informed advice.”
The question is whether the nation has the capacity - and the courage – to head the advice of experts in repairing the economy and the environment simultaneously. Or, as with immigration reform, will it become a revolving issue, one that gets put on hold at least until the political climate in D.C. improves.
- Paul Gullixson