(Not) Preaching to the Choir

Vancouver City Councilor Bill Turlay, a new face on the Metro Policy Advisory Committee, created quite the splash during a meeting last week.

During the April 11 meeting, he told members of the board during a discussion on curbing per capita vehicle emissions that he doesn’t believe in global warming — not a view shared by many on the Portland metro area committee, or in the scientific community.

Here’s how the exchange went, according to a story written by Metro news reporter Nick Christensen:

“After pointing out that as a fighter pilot, he worked “where weather is made,” and “weather, over a period of time, is climate, so I think I have a pretty good idea how climate works,” he said something few people say so bluntly in the Metro Regional Center – the planet is getting cooler, not warmer.

Some MPAC and audience members seemed to struggle to contain their reactions as Turlay laid out an indictment of climate change science, including saying he personally welcomed a slight increase in carbon dioxide and global temperature, “because we could feed more people that way.”

“If you don’t have the science right, you’re not going to have your policy right,” Turlay said, before laying out a litany of questions about the project and whether it will make a dent in global warming, and what would happen if humankind stopped emitting carbon dioxide.

“No one has talked about the other side,” Turlay said.

Metro Councilor Kathryn Harrington, in a quick response, shot down Turlay’s pontification against climate science.

“What we all agree on is that we want safe and healthy communities, strong neighborhoods and vibrant downtowns,” she said. “We’ve moved past arguing about climate change and what causes climate change. We are directed by the Oregon Legislature to move forward with the community planning work you do every single day.”

Vancouver is a nonvoting member of MPAC.

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