Sen. Pete Kelly denies climate change while seeking university vote
Climate change should be a big issue in a key legislative race in Fairbanks this year, the contest between Republican Sen. Pete Kelly and Democratic Rep. Scott Kawasaki.
Since they are asking for votes in a Fairbanks district populated by more than a few of Alaska's leading climate scientists, the debate will be a pointed one because Kelly claims that climate change science is bogus.
In a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters Friday, Kelly said "I'm not so sure that the climate change science is valid."
This remark produced laughter and groans from the audience, but Kelly motioned with his left hand as if he were eager for a fight and upped the ante. "There is hysteria about it, but the science is bad."
Kawasaki responded that Kelly's position is "ill-informed," which is putting it mildly. Kelly, a career government worker who has a business degree from Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, said he wants an "reasonable scientific approach." Who wouldn't want that?
I trust the scientists at UAF more than I trust Kelly. His expertise is in memorizing Republican talking points, which is why he can't provide any evidence that the "science is bad."
The university doesn't want to get on Kelly's bad side, for fear that he will punish the institution in the Legislature, and many scientists prefer to avoid state politics, but the university administration and climate scientists have a responsibility to speak up and hold him accountable.