Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mizzou President Backs Out Of Signed Global Warming Promise

Over the past couple years, 662 college and university presidents nationwide have signed onto a document calling for urgent action to address the imminent threat of climate change. The American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment is seen as a symbol of the growing recognition by academic leaders (e.g., college presidents) that future generations (their students) will lose out on the new energy jobs of the future and suffer the worst effects of global warming unless we cap carbon pollution.

Among the signers of this historic commitment is Gary Forsee, president of the University of Missouri System. The text of the document he signed reads:
We, the undersigned presidents and chancellors of colleges and universities, are deeply concerned about the unprecedented scale and speed of global warming and its potential for large-scale, adverse health, social, economic and ecological effects. We recognize the scientific consensus that global warming is real and is largely being caused by humans. We further recognize the need to reduce the global emission of greenhouse gases by 80% by mid-century at the latest, in order to avert the worst impacts of global warming and to reestablish the more stable climatic conditions that have made human progress over the last 10,000 years possible.

While we understand that there might be short-term challenges associated with this effort, we believe that there will be great short-, medium-, and long-term economic, health, social and environmental benefits, including achieving energy independence for the U.S. as quickly as possible.
So Missouri students and college presidents nationwide are understandably scratching their heads at this article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which quotes at length from a letter Forsee penned to Missouri's Congressional delegation arguing vehemently against the cap-and-trade system to cut carbon pollution because of what he predicts to be the short-term costs.

In other words, after signing a document stating that he supported measures to fight global warming despite the short-term challenges, Forsee then decided that the effort was indeed not worth the effort required to meet those challenges.

Unfortunately, Forsee hasn't been the only local big-wig to disappoint on the issue of clean energy. Rep. Blaine Leutkemeyer, whose district includes the Columbia campus, voted against the American Clean Energy & Security Act earlier this year. Additionally, the first-term congressman is a chief sponsor of legislation that would cut off funds for the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Instead of supporting new clean energy jobs for Missouri, Rep. Leutkemeyer is siding with Big Oil and other corporate polluters.

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