Crank up clean energy

Monday, December 14, 2009

From an editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal:

It might be hard to muster concern over global warming after shoveling a foot of snow in freezing temperatures last week across Wisconsin.

But the risk of man-made climate change is real and demands action - even if some scientists have overstated the evidence.

The bottom line is this: Burning less petroleum and coal that produces heat-trapping greenhouse gasses makes sense regardless of climate change fears.

A smart and determined transition to cleaner energy will be good for national security, public health and - if done carefully - Wisconsin's economy.

World leaders are gathering in Copenhagen, Denmark, this week for the United Nation's climate change conference. Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle is there with a delegation of governors and Canadian premiers.

A lot of the discussion will center on targets for reducing carbon emissions from smoke stacks and vehicles - and what to do if goals aren't met.

America and China spew more fossil-fuel pollution into the atmosphere than anyone, meaning we have more responsibility to lead toward a solution. . . .

The release of more than 1,000 e-mails between a few prominent climate scientists has stirred controversy in recent weeks. The e-mails suggest some scientists can be rude and dismissive when challenged. The scientists also presented data in slanted ways.

But evidence far beyond the work of those few scientists involved in the flap suggests rising global temperatures pose serious risk of flooding, drought and human misery.

Both sides of the global-warming debate have their extremists. Leaders in Copenhagen and Congress need to work from the middle to craft a thoughtful and cost-conscious approach to cleaner air policy.

Wisconsin and the world need solutions that ease global warming while simultaneously benefiting public health, national defense and jobs.