Echoing his party’s vice-presidential nominee, Republican congressional candidate Scott Starin Wednesday told The Colorado Independent he does not believe global climate change is caused by man.
Starin, a Lafayette aerospace engineer who’s running against Boulder Democrat Jared Polis for the 2nd Congressional District seat being vacated by Mark Udall, sounded a lot like Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who said during her recent vice-presidential debate with Joe Biden that she was uncertain of man’s role and that cyclical weather patterns may be responsible.
“Anybody who claims to know the answer on that is either not being scientific or they’re basing their opinions on popular consensus,” Starin said. “There’s a lot of evidence that suggests climate change is not due to carbon emissions.”
Of course, there’s a lot of evidence, especially in recent years, that global warming is caused by carbon emissions from the ongoing burning of fossil fuels, including reports by the National Academy of Sciences and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Pressed on the issue, Starin, who supports stepped-up oil and gas drilling on Colorado’s Western Slope and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and offshore drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf, clarified and cited a recent set of questions posed by Dr. Richard Keen, a climatology professor at the University of Colorado.
“It doesn’t matter whether I believe in it or not, and if you want to know, I do not believe that climate change is due to manmade carbon emissions,” Starin said. “And it just so happens that the climatologist professor at Colorado University agrees with me.”
Polis is at the opposite end of the spectrum with regard to energy policy and climate change.
“The answer is not more drilling,” Polis said. “When you’re talking about offshore platforms and more drilling, you’re talking about six, eight, 10 years before any of that oil comes online. How far down the road would we be toward real energy independence if we took that same time and effort and capital and devoted it toward renewable energy and solar and wind energy over the next six, eight, 10 years? We’ll be a lot further down the road in ending our reliance on oil.”
Starin said Polis’ emphasis on renewable energy flies in the face of the technological limitations of wind and solar.
“He’s of the mindset of the idealistic wind and solar is going to serve all of our needs, but wind and solar are not mature enough from a cost-viability standpoint or energy storage standpoint to be primary sources of our energy,” Starin said.
“We’re not going to overnight abandon our fossil fuels, and regardless of whether you believe that global warming is manmade or not, we need to transition off of fossil fuels because there are other undisputed, tangible environmental impacts from hydrocarbon emissions.”
But Starin then contradicted himself on the question of oil-shale production, arguing that commercial leasing should be allowed to proceed with that unproven source of energy in order to keep all of the nation’s domestic energy production options open.
Polis countered that Starin and most Republicans are still in denial on the global-warming issue.
“’Drill, baby, drill,’ or ‘drill here, drill now’ is not a solution to climate change,” Polis said. “It’s really the biggest part of the problem about climate change. We have to change our attitudes; we have no choice. We’ve seen the devastating impacts of climate change right here in the 2nd Congressional District with the pine beetle epidemic and the fact that we haven’t had a cold enough winter to kill the pine beetle larvae in a number of years.”
Polis also said Democrats need to get tougher with big oil and gas. He said some Dems running for re-election are making too many concessions on drilling issues, including allowing bans on offshore drilling commercial oil-shale leasing to expire.
“During these political seasons there’s a lot of paranoia on both sides of the aisle as far as what the political ramifications of our positions will be, and I think the Democrats should hold the line on preventing any new drilling,” Polis said. “There are already enormous areas of land that are permitted for drilling, and those should continue to be exploited before we even have discussions about new drilling.”