I could almost hear the increasingly hotter Earth breathing a steamy sigh of relief when the newest Oregon gubernatorial poll came out today. Rasmussen Reports has John Kitzhaber ahead of Chris Dudley 48% to 46%.
Dudley shouldn't be this close, given his disturbingly lukewarm support, or outright disdain, for environmental issues. Oregonians are proudly green (not referring to school colors, Beaver fans). We want our state to remain a leader in job-creating sustainability.
But like the Oregon League of Conservation Voters says, "Oregon can't afford a governor who's not sure about global warming."
Last week, at the KGW/Oregonian gubernatorial debate, Chris Dudley once again dodged the ball on global warming. When asked directly by The Oregonian’s political writer Jeff Mapes whether he believed global warming was caused by human activity or not, Dudley said "...I don't know how much is man-made and how much is natural..."
It’s quite troubling. First, we have a candidate for governor essentially denying one of the most important environmental and economic problems we face—as a state, as a nation, as a planet. Second, if Dudley is questioning the role of human activity in the current global warming crisis, a view very much at odds with that of most Oregonians, what’s his energy policy going to look like?
Among the multi-point plans Dudley repeatedly listed in his talking points (but barely elaborated on), he did not once mention a plan for the intersection of energy, the economy and the environment—a stark contrast from John Kitzhaber, who has long been an environmental champion in Oregon, and who is proposing a statewide weatherization project that will develop a burgeoning local industry and create thousands of jobs, while at the same time addressing… yep… global warming.
There are lots of reasons to vote for Kitzhaber. Protecting Oregon's environment for future generations is one of the best.
I want my three-year-old granddaughter (who, sadly, lives in southern California) to grow up seeing my state's natural beauty protected and, hopefully, enhanced. We can't afford to have a know-nothing governor -- Dudley -- lead Oregon in a nowhere direction for the next four years.
There's some more entirely justified Dudley bashing on the Daily Kos.
GOP candidate for governor Chris Dudley is looking vulnerable on an issue that helped take down GOP Sen. Gordon Smith back in 2008, the environment.
This week, Stimson Lumber, Dudley's largest campaign donor (to the tune of $235,000) was hit with nearly $15,000 in fines for "failing to comply with hazardous air pollution standards, failing to operate an air quality control scrubber properly and discharging wastewater into Scoggins Creek." Not a huge fine as far as environmental fines go (barely a drop in the bucket to what they've spent on Dudley), but nonetheless showing failure to comply with environmental standards. Given how deep in the pocket of industry--particularly timber--Dudley is, then the revelation that he's a climate change denier makes sense.
Being anti-science might be a vote-getter in some states, but not Oregon. We're smarter than the rest of the country. Also, better looking, and our terrific homegrown wine/beer help make us that way (or at least feel that way).
Dudley, though, is marching right in step with the Republican party line. The National Journal has a great piece by Ron Brownstein, "GOP Gives Climate Science a Cold Shoulder."
Are these the people we want running the country, or Oregon?
When British Foreign Secretary William Hague visited the U.S. last week, he placed combating climate change near the very top of the world's To Do list.
"Climate change is perhaps the 21st century's biggest foreign-policy challenge," Hague declared in a New York City speech. "An effective response to climate change underpins our security and prosperity."
The danger was no longer just distant thunder, he suggested, warning that the recent devastating floods in Pakistan heralded the sort of extreme events that will become more common in a warmer world. "While no one weather event can ever be linked with certainty to climate change," he said, "the broad patterns of abnormality seen this year are consistent with climate-change models."
William Hague is not a holdover from the left-leaning Labor Government that British voters ousted last spring. He's not even from the centrist Liberal Democrats who are governing in a coalition with the Conservative Party of Prime Minister David Cameron. Hague is one of Cameron's predecessors as Conservative Party leader.
His strong words make it easier to recognize that Republicans in this country are coalescing around a uniquely dismissive position on climate change. The GOP is stampeding toward an absolutist rejection of climate science that appears unmatched among major political parties around the globe, even conservative ones.
...Indeed, it is difficult to identify another major political party in any democracy as thoroughly dismissive of climate science as is the GOP here. Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, says that although other parties may contain pockets of climate skepticism, there is "no party-wide view like this anywhere in the world that I am aware of."
It will be difficult for the world to move meaningfully against climate disruption if the United States does not. And it will be almost impossible for the U.S. to act if one party not only rejects the most common solution proposed for the problem (cap-and-trade) but repudiates even the idea that there is a problem to be solved. The GOP's stiffening rejection of climate science sets the stage for much heated argument but little action as the world inexorably warms -- and the dangers that Hague identified creep closer.
This is why it is so important that Oregonians vote for John Kitzhaber. We can't have this state embrace the anti-science, anti-environment GOP idiocy that Chris Dudley stands for.