A few days ago our local chapter of 350.org, 350 Salem OR, called out Peter Fernandez, the Public Works director of the City of Salem, for appearing to doubt the reality of human-caused climate change that is causing our one and only Earth to warm dramatically and dangerously.
When 350 Salem OR said it is "very troubling" that Peter Fernandez is unwilling to embrace the clear scientific consensus that climate change is happening, we humans are causing it, and reducing carbon emissions is a necessity, that's an understatement.
Fernandez oversees Public Works, which probably is the largest department in the City of Salem. Among other things, he's responsible for Salem's transportation network, which a recent Greenhouse Gas Inventory showed is the biggest contributor of carbon pollution in our city.
It's a big freaking deal that Fernandez either may be clueless about such an important scientific and public policy fact, or, worse, is a global warming denier who could be working to undermine Salem's efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
So I emailed Fernandez three days ago, last Monday, May 20.
Peter, here’s a screenshot of a recent Facebook post by the Salem branch of 350.org. I’m planning to write about this and wanted to give you a chance to comment on their assertion that you’re unwilling to say climate change is occurring.
The response from Public Works Director Fernandez was... nothing. No reply. Maybe Fernandez is taking some vacation time so he can attend a Global Warming Denier's Club get-together.
More likely, I guess, is that Peter Fernandez doesn't want to admit that he is an anti-science global warming skeptic, since a majority of the City Council wants Salem to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and institute a Climate Action Plan with measurable goals to do just that.
I say this in part because I've previously asked Fernandez if he accepts the science of global warming. Back in April 2016 I asked 30 Salem-area civic leaders three questions about climate change, as described in "How Salem's candidates and other local leaders look upon climate change."
Fernandez was a no-response then, as now. Maybe Fernandez just doesn't like to hear from me. Hard to believe, since I'm such a likable guy.
Of course, I did write a scathing tell-all report in 2014 after Fernandez engaged in sleazy back-room deal-making with the U.S. Bank president that resulted in the removal of five beautiful, healthy, large trees on downtown's State Street for no good reason.
(Read all about it, if you haven't already, in "Outrage: the true story of Salem's U.S. Bank tree killings.")
So if you want to ask Fernandez whether he accepts the science of human-caused climate change, have at it: [email protected]
Let me know if you get a response from him. That will tell me two things: how Fernandez looks upon global warming, and whether he likes you more than me. (I'm much more concerned about the first thing, of course.)