Opinions

Alaska's US senators should know better than to vote away global warming

Correction: Upon first publication, this commentary mistakenly said that the vote on these amendments took place last week. It took place in January. The text below has been revised to correct the error.

I can't tell you how relieved I am and how much I want to thank Alaska's two U.S. senators -- Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan. In January they joined 48 other senators in a declaration that human activity is not a "significant" contributor of climate change. Thank you! I'm so happy I could burn a pile of tires! Semi truck tires!

Seriously, people. When did we start voting on science? Are these people counting on the rapture to take care of our climate woes? At the same time Fairbanks is warmer than Phoenix in May -- yes, they hit 90 degrees this week, Texas is flooding, and tornado season is kicking off to be a real doozy, the U.S. Senate votes on climate change.

According to the National Weather Service records this is the 17th time Fairbanks was warmer than Phoenix since 1904.

Can we call it global weirdness? I think it's more accurate.

If we're going to have our Senate voting on science -- as if their opinions do diddly squat in the face of all those liberal facts, let's ask them to vote away some other pesky sciency issues.

Lets start with cancer. I hate cancer. I don't understand why it's necessary. We've been spending so much money on research and now that just seems foolish. Think of it! People can start smoking again if the Senate votes that cigarettes don't cause cancer! No more cancer! Please vote it down, Senate! We have faith in you -- since science doesn't matter.

Oh, and goodness help us if, like climate change, gravity and antibiotics are declared "the biggest hoax perpetrated against mankind." We could all go flying off the planet while coughing from pneumonia.

Alaska is ground zero for climate change science. Is this a shocker to anyone but our peas-in-a-pod senators? It's not a debate among our Native elders. We receive federal funding to help deal with our brothers and sisters in Kivalina who are classified as "climate refugees."

King Harald V of Norway visited Alaska this week, including my home bay. He stated, "Research and reliable data is essential in our struggle against climate change. The projects at the poles give us valuable knowledge in finding solutions to one of the greatest challenges of our time."

I guess Norway has taken a different approach than voting our species off the hook for contributing to climate chaos.

Wait -- Norway owns their own oil company. Statoil operates in Alaska as well as 36 countries. They have a permanent fund valued at $900 billion. Yes, size matters -- ours is $55 billion. This week they slashed their coal investments. The reasons given for the divestment of coal and mining companies was based on "impact on climate change." That's so crazy! Here's a kicker -- the Norwegian government and the oppositions parties are behind it because science isn't up for a vote.

Someone check on Lisa. This may be a startling revelation to her that you can be a king of an oil company and believe that climate change is significantly related to humans doing stuff, like, say burning coal.

When I was a kid we went to church a lot. I liked it, but it seemed like a pretty big time investment. I was pretty young when I asked Pop, "What if there's no God and you are just dead when you're dead?"

"Well, Shanny, I win either way. If it's what I think it is then there's heaven and I get to see my family again. If I'm just dirt, I still win because I had a nice group of friends, fellowship dinners and I feel pretty good about it."

That made sense to me. Do the right thing and you're covered either way.

I see climate change response in the same way.

If Lisa, Dan and the rest of the science-denying U.S. Senate are right that we have nothing much to do with the global changes, then it won't matter a gnat's behind if we curb our carbon usage. But if the scientists are right, and we do nothing, well, that's worse than just being dirt. Limiting our carbon consumption seems like the conservative thing to do.

According to the 2004 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report, the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. More recent science shows it's worse than they thought.

Note to senators: Alaska is in the Arctic.

Shannyn Moore is a radio broadcaster.

The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.

Shannyn Moore

Shannyn Moore is a radio broadcaster. You can hear her show, "The Last Word," Monday through Friday 4-6 p.m. on KOAN 95.5 FM and 1080 AM and 1480 We Act Radio in Washington, D.C., and on Netroots Radio.The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, e-mail commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.

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