A heated debate
As heat waves rolled across the country this summer and Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” hit theaters, talk of global warming grew common. American City & County asked readers of its weekly e-mail newsletter if they believed that global warming exists and, if so, what local governments can do to prepare for and mitigate its effects.
“Local government has enough to worry about without trying to change nature. We certainly can be concerned about emissions. We can look for new, cleaner technology for city facilities and vehicles; we can work to minimize emissions; we can be cognizant of potential pollution problems, but in the final analysis, there is little local government can or should do to affect global warming. Changes take place every day that continually affect the shape of our planet. This is nature in action. It is foolhardy to believe that things should or will stay the same as they are today. I’m not going to lose sleep over [global warming], and I don’t believe local governments should either.”
— Jerry Allen, city council member, Burleson, Texas
“The government should definitely do something about global warming. A first step would be [for the U.S.] to join the global coalition to stop or curb global warming/pollution. Next, the government should go back to requiring filters on all pollution-belching factories to, at the least, minimize pollution that creates global warming. Finally, and probably most important, find alternative fuel sources that are low in carbon dioxide emissions. We have the technology to create such fuels and engines, but big oil is preventing that from happening.”
— Jim Van Pelt, Transportation Planner, Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization, Sarasota, Fla.
“The historical record shows that the Earth has had numerous periods of warm weather and cold weather. I doubt very much that anything we have done or can do will change this natural pattern. Twenty-five years ago, Time magazine had a headline story about the threat of global cooling. Now, we are warned about global warming. Will it be warnings of another ice age 20 years from now? I think that the global warming extremists are pushing a political and personal agenda, rather than one based on science.”
— Joseph Block, Village Manager, Addison, Ill.