As the need to address climate change mounts, public officials are considering a wide range of responses.
Most elected official are focusing on a dual track: stepping up efforts to develop cleaner-burning energy sources and creating incentives for manufacturers to innovate new green technologies so that all of us can use fuel more efficiently. This is the right path.
A few officials, including right here in Colorado, have chosen a less productive path.
They are suing energy manufacturers for selling us the energy we use, saying that climate change is all their fault and they need to do something about it.
Last year the City of Boulder, Boulder County and San Miguel Counties filed one of these lawsuits. They signed up for litigation that is being shopped around the country by out-of-state trial lawyers seeking to make money off of this shared, global challenge. This is the wrong path.
Fortunately, there are many voices of reason emerging in this debate — people who are focused on seeking real solutions. One of them is Colorado’s Attorney General Phil Weiser.
He opposes these lawsuits, saying he is “unconvinced” this litigation will be useful at all in the effort to deal with climate change. He continued that “the major reason that we have really reduced our carbon footprint here in Colorado is by moving from coal to natural gas,” so “it’s not an obvious move that we would hold liable oil and gas producers.”
Attorney General Weiser’s focus on solutions rather than blame makes sense. He is also right about the shift from coal to natural gas.
Nationally, the Energy Information Administration reported a 28% decrease in carbon emissions from power generation between 2005 and 2017. In fact, in 2016, greenhouse gas emissions were the lowest they had been since 1992.
Over the past few years, natural gas has also become the focal point for R&D into renewable and cleaner-burning fuel technology, including algae-based fuel, carbon capture and sequestration, and even solar or wind power generation.
We do not need to sacrifice economic growth and jobs to fight climate change. Just the opposite — we can develop our businesses around the fight against climate change.
The full article can be read here.