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February 04, 2011 04:15 AM UTC

Dr. Urbina, Meet the Flat Earth Society

  • by: Colorado Pols

Here’s another instructive bit of forwarded multimedia that we didn’t want to escape mention–from the Senate confirmation hearing yesterday of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s pick to head the state Department of Public Health and Environment, Dr. Chris Urbina. We think that by the end of this roughly six and a half minutes of audio, you’ll join us in expressing regret on behalf of the entire institution of the Colorado Senate that a person of the education and qualifications of Dr. Urbina had to endure what really does amount to a profound insult to his intelligence.

Because, dear reader, Dr. Urbina got what might have been his first taste of one of our very favorite legislators, state Sen. Kevin Lundberg. And Lundberg wanted to talk “global warming.”

Can’t see the audio player? Click here.

But wait, what’s the only way Lundberg’s lowbrow grilling could get any better? Why, if Sen. Shawn Mitchell doesn’t think Dr. Urbina answered Lundberg’s questions about wonderful, non toxic, makes-the-trees-happy carbon dioxide correctly!

Can’t see the audio player? Click here.

Dr. Urbina can’t completely hide the exasperation by the end, and he wasn’t the only one in the room from what we’re told–this includes some Republicans. At least they didn’t crack about how cold it was this week and human-caused climate change is therefore obviously a myth, because that sounds even better when you play it back to melting glaciers and drowning polar bears.

Don’t rule out worse embarrassments from the realm of possibility, we suppose; perhaps Tom Tancredo will be ambassador to Mexico someday.


17 thoughts on “Dr. Urbina, Meet the Flat Earth Society

  1. or does he call him “Director Urbina”?

    And I forget- was it President Reagan or President Bush who claimed that trees and plants are causing pollution?

  2. He asks the professor if carbon dioxide should be controlled “at virtually any cost”. What a doofus Lundberg is.

    And of course Shawn “Boxers Not Briefs” Mitchell goes along for the ride.

    Ah, the flower of Republican politicians in Colorado! (Or perhaps we should refer to them as the Fruits of the Loom.)

    1. Lundberg and Mitchell evasive in asking the question, getting to it at the very end with, “What’s your policy on controlling CO2.” And Urbina evasive in firmly stating his position on polution control, even at the end refusing to state his policy position regarding restrictions on CO2 emissions in Colorado.

      It’s insulting that Pols would slap the GOP wankers for trying to get Urbina to make a firm declaration of belief in Global Warming (as caused by CO2) while giving the good doctor a pass on avoiding making such a declaration when asked point-blank about his policy position.

      1. And Urbina evasive in firmly stating his position on pollution control, even at the end refusing to state his policy position regarding restrictions on CO2 emissions in Colorado.

        Dr. Urbina was clear that carbon dioxide is one natural product that causes pollution–that is not evasive at all. You are expecting him to lay out a policy position for the Department before even being in office, working with staff, and deciding what the Department and the state should do. Unreasonable expectation.

        The purpose of the hearing is to determine if he is qualified for the job, not to show up with a policy already determined. Unless you are Lundberg and Mitchell and your purpose is to attack.

  3. The modern Republican party – home of America’s conservation movement, of abolition, of a thoughtful and far-sighted commitment to science in earlier decades – has become anti-knowledge and anti-science.

    There is no rational basis upon which to dispute the reality that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are warming the atmosphere.

    You can say “so what,” or “we can’t afford to change our ways.” Those may be costly choices, but not necessarily irrational ones.

    Instead, our illustrious GOP legislators, governors and other miscellaneous political functionaries think they should take scientific advice from oil and coal industry shills, talk show hosts, and reactionary ministers.

    Sad. Very sad.

    1. Is why the right is so wrapped up in denying this. A lot of what the right does I can understand the philosophical underpinnings of. But this seems to be based on nothing more than anti-intellectualism.

        1. a fundamentalist religious right like ours. Ours is composed of those who are fundamentalist, anti-intellectual and anti-science and those who feel they have to cater to them. And of course, in this case, the anti-science view dovetails so nicely with the short range greed of the big energy corporations.

      1. Lundberg in particular has an incredible knowledge of living off grid and carbon neutral. Of course, his reason for learning is when teh revolution comes! Now I’m half kidding; he’s well aware that we need to protect our environment and natural resources. Seriously. The man was country environmental before it was cool.

        Can’t we all forget why it’s important and just focus on that it is?

      2. I think it’s more than that, David.

        It seems to me that, beyond anti-intellectualism (and there is plenty of that going on), is an unwillingness to confront the lesson and the imperative that climate change presents.

        We are dealing with the necessity of changing the very basic ways human beings interact with each other. Fossil fuels are so critical to virtually all of our lifestyles, economic choices, and industries that it causes something like a short-circuit to seriously ponder climbing the mountain of change.

        That said, it can be done. We know how to do it. And doing it is a positive thing because it empowers each of us to be responsible for our own choices.

        Then there’s the always pernicious power of profit and influence peddling. Coal and oil executives know the reality we are facing. They simply want to wring every last dollar they can, for as long as they can, out of our existing unsustainable energy system. And they, as businessmen have for so long, will use their financial clout to assure that outcome, even if it means using our system of legalized bribes to do it.

        I am now reading Mark Hertsgaard’s new book, “Hot,” and even for a guy like me who has read most of the general interest books on climate change out there, it’s a wake-up call. Like Mark, I have two young children. Like him, I am angry and frustrated that we can’t seem to get past our collective limitations to do what is in their best interest.

        Read Mark’s book. It will give you hope along with the eye-opening realization that climate change is not some conditional future event. It’s here, it’s happening, and we’re seeing its impacts every day.

        People like Lundberg and Mitchell, eventually, will no longer be the barrier to acting in the interest of our children and our children’s children.

        I hope that day comes a lot sooner than it seems now to be likely to, though.

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