Ericksen calls for all views to be heard on climate

  • Lawmakers need to hear more views, not fewer
  • Broad range of scientific opinion exists
  • One-sided approach invites disastrous government action

OLYMPIA – The Washington Legislature ought to hear from experts who reflect the broad range of scientific opinion on global warming, says Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale – not just those who tell lawmakers what they want to hear.

In a letter last week to Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Chair Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, Ericksen said the committee “must consider a wide range of data, opinions, perspectives and ideas.” Hearing from all viewpoints, he said, would create opportunity for “more robust deliberation among committee members, and lead to better policy.”

Ericksen, ranking Republican on the EET committee, made his request following a presentation Jan. 15 by Dr. Amy Snover, director of the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington. Snover summarized recent reports predicting disaster if governments fail to take drastic and immediate action.

During the work session, Ericksen asked Snover if she knew of anyone at the University of Washington with a different opinion. She said no. Not only are there differing opinions among academics at the state’s largest public research university, Ericksen said, 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.

Ericksen asked, “If all we hear is one side of the story, how can we make good decisions? Some of the proposals for government action we are hearing would have a devastating effect on the economy, job creation and the middle class. This is a time when more voices need to be heard, not fewer.

“We are seeing a dangerous trend in politics where some people believe the only legitimate opinions are those that support their proposals, and every other view ought to be ignored. We should recognize there is a broad range of scientific opinion on this topic.”

In his letter, Ericksen urges Carlyle to invite Dr. Judith Curry, former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and president of the Climate Forecast Applications Network.

From 2013 to 2017, the Senate EET committee invited testimony from experts with a wide range of viewpoints on the subject.