Local climate change expert says County Council resolution distorts facts

Rob Davies, a physicist and climate change educator, will watch with interest Tuesday night when the Cache County Council considers a resolution that opposes new taxes through federal climate revenues collection. Davies said he understands the desire for lower taxes “I have read the resolution,” he said Tuesday morning, “And they have presented five justifications, some of them based on climate science and some of them based on cost estimates of legislation that’s making its way through Congress. To be blunt, each of those five is an utter distortion of both climate science and the estimated cost.” He said each of the clauses is simply fundamentally wrong. “First of all, it gets the climate science completely wrong,” he said. “The council is confused when they say NASA has data showing we’ve been cooling since 2002. The NASA records show nothing of the kind.” Davies said this isn’t the way climate is measured. Climate is concerned more with longer-term averages than just year-to-year variability. “The more important statistic is this: the decade from 1998 to 2008 is the warmest in the instrumental record. And the previous decade was the warmest to that point, and so it goes back in time.” He said the resolution also distorts the estimated cost of the proposed legislation. “They quote a memo from the congressional budget office that says it’s going to cost $110 billion,” said Davies. “But that’s a gross cost and that’s before you actually implement the legislation the way it’s written. That same memo, two pages later, says the net cost is $22 billion, much less than the county council has quoted.” Davies said the resolution completely neglects any benefit to the legislation. “This is trying to address a very real problem,” he said. “Nobody believes the legislation is perfect but the costs are certainly not exorbitant. There are many estimates on these costs. The council has chosen to present the most pessimistic, and misrepresent it at that.” Davies is concerned the resolution makes it sound like this hasn’t been studied. “They’re asking for new studies,” he said, “And then there a reference in the last page of the memo, saying ‘In light of NASA temperature statistics’ as thou there’s something new in the climate data we didn’t know before. That’s completely incorrect.” Davies said Rob Gillies, Director of the Utah Climate Center at USU and an internationally known climate scientist, has extended an open invitation to the County Council and Executive Lynn Lemon to chat with him “…so he can help them better understand this information they’re completely misunderstanding.”

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