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PSN on June 15, 2006 - 8:35am
The Western Governors Association on Sunday acknowledged an inconvenient truth. The bipartisan group of Governors from West Coast, Rocky Mountain, and Great Plains states came together to unanimously pass a resolution (PDF) that says that global warming is real, at least partially human-caused, and that now is a time for action.
Although criticized by some for lacking much in the way of details, the three-page resolution highlights the scientific reality of warming and the harm it poses to the West:
In recent years, the West has experienced very significant droughts across much of the region, reduced snow pack, altered precipitation patterns, severe forest and rangeland fires, warmer temperatures and forest diseases. Climate change and variability have contributed to these impacts. Although specific impacts are not fully predictable, climate change could have severe economic and environmental impacts on the West in coming decades, including effects on agriculture and tourism, infrastructure (including dams, roads, water and sewer), loss of coastal areas, changed fisheries and wildlife, water shortages, storm impacts, and soil erosion.
And while Big Oil has attempted repeatedly to frighten the public into believing that fighting warming will weaken our economy, the Western Governors dispell this pernicious myth. The strength of the wording is even more significant, given the amount of natural resource development that still occurs in the West:
Appropriate action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many of these actions could create significant economic benefit for the West, if the United States moves toward new energy sources and technologies that prefer domestic energy and carbon sequestration. The opportunities to deploy clean and renewable energy and energy efficiency are abundant in the West and may economically and environmentally benefit states by increasing energy efficiency, improving air quality, saving costs, providing jobs, increasing revenues, and reducing water pollution.
While this resolution may have been short on policy specifics, two other resolutions, one on Clean and Diversified Energy for the West (PDF) and one on Transportation Fuels for the Future (PDF) provide more details on the Western vision to fight global warming while creating long-term economic development opportunities for both the new urban west and the rural areas.
Already, the bipartisan effort in the West is receiving well-earned accolades. The Tucson Citizen declared the resolution, "a refreshingly bipartisan rebuke to the administration's continued denial of global warming."