The heated climate change debate
October 15, 2014
The climate change debate continues to heat up political races across America. While the Obama administration passes clean energy policies, not everyone in the country agrees with these decisions.
In 2007, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling that gave federal agencies the ability to regulate carbon dioxide as an air pollutant.
In September, the Environmental Protection Agency from Region 8 visited Craig to discuss the Clean Power Plan, and Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid disagreed with the ruling.
"No matter how many times extremists say carbon dioxide is a pollutant, it does not change the fact that it is not,” Kinkaid said on Sept. 11.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a 195-nation consortium formed in 1988, lists a number of climate change indicators in its 2013 Climate Change Assessment. According to the report, indicators include changes in sea level, glaciers and surface temperature.
The Craig Daily Press spoke with two professors from Colorado colleges to talk about the two sides of climate change.
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Climate change is real
The science behind climate change lies in the way greenhouse gases trap radiation. Jim White, professor of Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies at University of Colorado-Boulder said there's no other way to interpret it.
"It would be weird if the atmosphere didn’t warm up as we added more greenhouse gases," White said. "Greenhouse gases are not going to do anything different than absorb energy because that’s what they do."
Fossil fuels are a suspected culprit of causing climate change. White said coal plays a pretty big role, but shouldn't be counted out of America's energy equation completely.
"I don't blame the coal or gas industry," White said. "I find it odd we would blame the basic provider of energy for the fact that we haven’t come up with a basic plan for how to deal with this."
"I think we (Americans) need to have an adult level conversation about what to do about this," White said.
Climate change is not real
For others, greenhouse gasses trapping energy seems to be a myth. William M. Gray, professor emeritus at Colorado State University in the Department of Atmospheric Science, said he's a "proud skeptic" of climate change.
"It’s greatly overdone," Gray said. "The CO2 increasing just can’t do and change the climate change system the way some of these models have shown."
Gray fears the coal industry is in danger and plans to spend the rest of his life working against the climate change movement and the effects it has on America's energy industries. But he doesn’t think research on renewable energy should completely stop, either.
"I think this demonizing of coal is terrible and I think all the grant support to renewable energy has been essentially money down the drain because that hasn’t worked out very well," Gray said.
"We have so many other problems that should dominate this," Gray said.