n Dave Erley’s April 9 “The View” column in the Moab Sun News, he quoted Ron Sims, a former county executive in Seattle, who wrote that … “public leaders and public servants who have assumed the responsibility for the health, safety, and welfare of citizens, have a professional and moral obligation to prepare our communities for climate change. We must prepare for the impacts under way while we work to avoid even worse future effects.”
That statement, with its inference that politicians have a moral obligation to exert upon the electorate policies and ideas other than for which they were elected, speaks to the hubris of elected officials becoming enamored with an issue, then working to convert their opinion of the issue into policy, regardless of the costs to society or the need for additional debate, study, and scrutiny. Voters want politicians to administrate their governments, not implement ideas for which they were not elected.
Nowhere is this more readily apparent than on the topic of global warming, and Mr. Erley’s own words: “Climate change is real and will devastate the Colorado Plateau and world”, and “the current County Council is actively seeking ways to make money by facilitating destruction of the Book Cliffs and heating of our atmosphere” Hyperbole aside, I suggest Mr. Erley read the latest U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, wherein it states that the rate of warming between 1998 and 2012 “is smaller than the rate calculated since 1951”, and it predicts modest temperature increases through 2035 of between 1 and 1.5 Celsius. More importantly, it acknowledges that “the innate behavior of the climate system imposes limits on the ability to predict its evolution.” Sounds precisely like the type of problem requiring more debate, study, and scrutiny.
If politicians truly have altruism weighing heavily on their hearts, then perhaps their efforts would be better served by addressing issues which are negatively impacting people right now. One such example is malaria. Although eradicated in the United States by 1960, the World Health Organization estimates that in 2012 alone, malaria caused 207 million clinical episodes, and 627,000 deaths. Now there’s an issue beyond debate.