Friday, December 15, 2006

Montanan's against global warming?

One of the famous Duckboy postcards is one depicting the annual (snowbound and parka-wearing) meeting of "Montanans for Global Warming."

Governor Schweitzer has created a competing organization, the Climate Change Advisory Committee, which is tasked with coming up with suggestions for unilateral action that can be taken by Montana to decrease global warming.

In all seriousness, Montana Headlines generally will be found to hold the position that true conservatives tend to like to conserve everything that is good -- including our land, air, water, and wildlife. The days when conservative thinking was somehow associated with wanton ecological destruction are long gone.

But on the other hand, it remains important to base actions on facts, particularly when such actions may end up acting as de facto (or outright) taxes, with the resultant drag on the Montana economy that would come with higher effective tax rates.

So far, there is nothing concrete from the committe, but its actions bear close watching. Will all energy industries be treated equally? Will eastern Montana bear the brunt both of the physical reality of the governor's coal gasification plans and see the profits from those operations disappear into state coffers in Helena under the guise of anti-global warming initiatives?

That we are undergoing a climate change is unquestioned -- such changes have happened repeatedly in earth's history, with no help from man. There is probably also little doubt that man is contributing to this climate change. What the negative impact of a climate change will be, how much human activity contributes to it, and how much our efforts to slow down a climate change can realistically have an effect are all unanswered questions.

Having strict common-sense laws to keep our state's agricultural land, water resources, air, and wildlife habitats clean and safe is good.

Entering into the world of regulation based not on common sense observation and testing, but rather on theoretical global warming theories is a path fraught with dangers to our economy, and with the potential for capricious abuses by bureaucrats.

None of these question were raised by the Gazette in this article -- one hopes they will be in the future.