Disagreement over how to deal with concerns about global climate change has brought Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to a parting of ways. PG&E has not been a leader in environmental awareness. If you could get beyond Julia Roberts's cleavage you might remember that her eponymous character in the movie Erin Brockovich was fighting to unearth the truth about PG&E's egregious pollution of an entire community's water supply, while the utility mobilized battalions of lawyers in an attempt to smother the suit. It was a true story and an ugly blot on PG&E's history.
Maybe PG&E learned from the experience. On Sept. 22, in a blog linked to the utility's Website, PG&E blogger Jonathan Marshall describes the letter by Chairman and CEO Peter Darbee to the Chamber of Commerce, explaining why the utility was withdrawing.
I was amused to see that one reason was the Chamber's demand for a "Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century," a bit of singular idiocy and shoot-yourself-in-the-foot nomenclature I lampooned in my last blog. But I was sincerely impressed by Darbee's statement, "In our opinion, an intellectually honest argument over the best policy response to the challenges of climate change is one thing; disingenuous attempts to diminish or distort the reality of these challenges are quite another."
Darbee puts his finger on the very thing I find most upsetting in the dogged opposition to climate-change legislation. I can deal with intellectually honest argument based on facts and good science. I can't understand people who claim that a few odd facts can discredit the considered, peer-reviewed conclusions of thousands of scientists.
Can I accept that a different conclusion might be warranted? Sure. But give me a coherent theory to replace the ones now on the table. Claiming that a few cooler years in the last dozen, or even in the last hundred, disprove the theory of anthropogenic climate change is, in my opinion and apparently in Peter Darbee's as well, disingenuous.