Upcoming Conference | 2019 Re-Wire Policy Conference, Dec 10, 2019 Register

Sen. Ericksen asks Sen. Carlyle to include “a wide range of data” and perspectives on climate change

In a recent letter, Sen. Doug Ericksen wrote Sen. Reuven Carlyle, who chairs the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee, requesting the committee “consider a wide range of data, opinions, perspectives, and ideas” when it comes to climate change.

Ericksen has become known as a climate change skeptic both within the state and beyond Washington’s borders.

In the letter, Ericksen writes he’s disappointed that a recent work session with Dr. Amy Snover “only focused on one point of view.”

Snover is a faculty member at the University of Washington. According to the UW’s website, she’s the director of the Climate Impacts Group, university director of the Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center, “has been recognized as a White House Champion of Change for Climate Education and Literacy, [and] was a convening lead author for the Third U.S. National Climate Assessment and lead author” of a book called “Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional, and State Governments.”

Snover’s briefing cited data from sources like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C and The Fourth National Climate Assessment; she ended with a call to action for the legislature:

“…the extent of harm of global warming depends on both how much warming occurs and how well we prepare for it,” Snover said. “So the choices that you’re making today will shape those impacts into the future.”

After her presentation, which is now available to watch online via TVW, Ericksen asked Snover if anyone at the UW “has a different opinion or viewpoint” than what she presented.

“I am not aware of anyone who disagrees with the findings of the IPCC or the National Climate Assessment,” Snover replied.

Ericksen took issue with that answer in his letter.

“Not only are there differing opinions among academics at the state’s largest public research university… they can be seen throughout the scientific community. Some 325 eminent research scientists and other experts petitioned the federal government in 2017 to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.”

The petition Ericksen is referencing was by Richard Lindzen, a retired MIT professor. After that letter was submitted, 22 current and former faculty from the MIT Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate sent a letter to the president expressing that they did not share that view nor, they wrote, did “the overwhelming majority of other scientists who have devoted their professional lives to careful study of climate science.”

Over 800 “Earth scientists and energy experts” signed an open letter to Trump shortly after he was elected in 2016, urging him to “take immediate and sustained action against human-caused climate change” by taking six steps, one of which was to “uphold America’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement.”

Ericksen, in his letter, asks Carlyle to invite Dr. Judith Curry to present to the committee, saying:

“Hearing from people with other viewpoints, such as Dr. Curry, will create opportunities for more robust deliberation among committee members, and lead to better policy.”

Curry is the former chair of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; according to Georgia Tech’s website, she founded the Climate Forecast Applications Network and has “served on the NASA Advisory Council Earth Science Subcommittee, the DOE Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Council and the National Academies Climate Research Committee and the Space Studies Board.”

In a 2014 op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal, Curry argued :

“A growing body of evidence suggests that the climate is less sensitive to increases in carbon-dioxide emissions than policy makers generally assume—and that the need for reductions in such emissions is less urgent.”

Curry keeps a blog called Climate Etc. and has testified before Congress.

In a profile of Curry in Scientific American, the author wrote:

“(Curry) has been engaging actively with the climate change skeptic community… What scientists worry is that such exposure means Curry has the power to do damage to a consensus on climate change that has been building for the past 20 years.”

In a Q&A with the Wire last week, Carlyle made clear that there’s a line in the sand for policy that addresses climate change this session, saying,

“I think that it is clear that folks who have ideological opposition to action on climate have to make a choice. They can’t hide anymore. We’re going to move this bold legislation.”