OLYMPIA, Wash. — After Gov. Jay Inslee’s greenhouse gas emissions bill cleared its last hurdle in the House in late March, it was clear when Central Washington lawmakers stood on the issue.
And one local expert isn’t happy with their opposition to further research and cost-analysis into the issue, which ties directly to the global debate on climate change.
Out of the nine lawmakers from the 13th, 14th and 15th legislative districts, only Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, voted in favor of Senate Bill 5802.
In discussing his vote with the Yakima Herald-Republic, King said he did not consider greenhouse gas emissions “a major concern.”
“Obviously the other eight (lawmakers) agree,” Miles McPhee, a life-long climate research scientist who lives in Naches, said in a letter to 14th District lawmakers Tuesday. “I do not, and abhor the idea that climate change has become a political litmus test.”
McPhee has spent nearly four decades conducting field research in the Arctic and Antarctic, specializing in polar air-ice-ocean interaction and how excessive amounts of carbon dioxide are impacting it.
In the letter, McPhee cited a recent article he wrote for the Journal of Climate, a research publication of the American Meteorological Society, noting “amazing changes” in the circulation of the Arctic Ocean in recent years that have exacerbated the melting of ice caps in the Canada Basin.
“I harbor essentially no doubt that this results from CO2 loading,” McPhee wrote.
McPhee proceeded to offer his time and expertise to further discuss the issue with district lawmakers “as seen from an active researcher’s point of view.”
Last week, Don Easterbrook, an emeritus geology professor and climate change skeptic from Western Washington University, was invited by Republicans to testify before the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee.
The Republican-led committee stripped language out of the bill that attributed man-made climate change to issues facing the state. Democrats opted not to reintroduce that language once it returned to the House for a vote.
The bill authorizes an outside consultant to review efforts by Washington and other states to cut carbon emissions and develop a report for the Legislature by the end of the year. The report is meant to help the state reach its target of reducing 2020 greenhouse gas emissions levels to those of 1990.