A state blue ribbon task force on climate change stated emphatically Monday that humans are to blame for global warming and offered a slate of recommendations on ways Utah can fight the changes.
But one much-discussed option, developing nuclear power, was only on the B list of recommendations by the Blue Ribbon Advisory Council on Climate Change.
A nearly final version of a report to Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. was accepted Monday by the task force, which Huntsman appointed a year ago.
The council's report, about an inch thick and printed on both sides of the page, still needs some final tinkering, such as clarification comments, but the basic recommendations will remain the same, according to the state energy adviser, Dianne Nielson.
Recommendations are divided into high priority and medium priority items to combat global warming, which a consensus of scientists blames on greenhouse gas emissions. These are mostly carbon dioxide, released by burning fossil fuel.
"There is no longer any scientific doubt that the Earth's average surface temperature is increasing and that changes in ocean temperature, ice and snow cover, and sea level are consistent with this global warming," says the report.
"Based on extensive scientific research, there is very high confidence that human-generated increases in greenhouse gas concentrations are responsible for most of the global warming observed during the past 50 years."
Promote production of biomass fuel.
Expand use of wood products for building materials.
Another section, recommending a cost-benefit analysis, remains to be added.
"There have been a number of changes that have been made" to the draft, Nielson told the panel. If necessary, the panel could be reconvened to debate any of the changes, she said. She also will have members consider a renewable energy section.
A member of the panel asked what the next step is. Nielson said that once these items are approved in final form, "we will be formally presenting this to the governor." Based on Huntsman's review, some steps could follow such as asking state agencies for action.
"There may be some (recommendations) that will require legislative action," she said. In that case, Huntsman would work with legislators and find sponsors for those provisions.
During the meeting, the amplified voice of Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon boomed from above. One of the task force's 24 members, he was unable to be present in person Monday but participated via telephone.
Two members of the task force who might not at first blush seem likely bedfellows said they were happy with the recommendations and that their groups' Web sites may link to the final version of the report. They are Scott Gutting, director of the industry-commercial oriented Utah Association of Energy Users, and Tim Wagner, conservation coordinator for the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club.
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