Proposed resolution says Utah should recognize climate change is happening (updated)

Utah State CapitolResolutions in the Utah Legislature usually don’t mean much.

But there are exceptions: Like the “rescind Bears Ears National Monument” resolution that cost the state the Outdoor Retailers Convention and $47 million in economic activity earlier this session.

Now, just a few days before the end of the 2017 general session, comes Rep. Becky Edwards’ HJR18, which basically would have the conservative Legislature recognizing climate change.

It further resolves that folks should use fewer fossil fuels and says Utah bosses should manage the environment to conserve all resources in tune with human needs.

The resolution DOES NOT say that humans are causing global warming or climate change.

But it does say the climate is changing, and not for the better – but in ways that harm human health and the environment in general and specifically in certain areas.

It says:

  • “Preservation of Utah’s economic longevity and state exceptionalism depends on prudent, fact-based stewardship of natural resources” – sounds suspiciously like we should use science to make these decisions.
  • “Protection, conservation, and reasonable management of the natural environment are essential principles of responsible conservancy.”
  • “If left unaddressed, the consequences of a changing climate have the potential to negatively impact Utah citizens and their posterity. . . .saddle Utah’s future generations with costly economic and environmental burdens.”

The resolution resolves that Utahns should be “using our heritage of ingenuity, innovation, and exceptionalism, (that old pioneering spirit) to create and support economically viable and broadly supported private and public solutions and studies (science, again) to address the causes and effects of measured changes to our global and regional climates, including mitigation efforts and efforts to balance human activities.”

This from a Utah Republican legislator – although a rather moderate one.

Edwards, R-North Salt Lake, got her resolution assigned to the House Economic Development Committee, which she just happens to chair. The resolution is on this afternoon’s agenda.

But it still needs to pass the committee (who is going to vote against the chair’s non-binding resolution?), the House and then the Senate all before Thursday night’s adjournment.

If it makes it, it goes to the Utah federal delegation – not your best climate-change fighters in Congress.

But will the conservative-dominated Utah Legislature even acknowledge climate change, and whether it is harming our environment and economy and endangering our “posterity?”

Update: HJR18 died in a House committee on a 5-5 tie vote.