WASHINGTON Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. is one of three Western governors appearing in a new television ad urging Congress to act on climate change.
The commercial, sponsored by the conservation group Environmental Defense, says states have taken action to help reduce pollution that leads to global warming, and Congress should do the same.
Huntsman appears in the 30-second commercial standing at the Great Salt Lake Marina wearing a leather bomber jacket. The Republican governor, along with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, also a Republican, and Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, take turns finishing each other's statements on the need to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions that contribute to global warming.
Schwarzenegger starts off saying that climate change "is a test of leadership."
"Now it's time for Congress to act by capping greenhouse-gas pollution," Huntsman says.
"We're leading," Schweitzer says. "Now it's their turn," Schwarzenegger finishes.
The ads will begin Tuesday in 17 media markets in 11 states and will continue to air during the next few weeks. The ad also will appear Nov. 25 during the Sunday morning political talk shows.
Huntsman could not be reached for comment. He was ill Thursday and missed his monthly news conference on KUED. His office issued a statement:
"We in the West are already wrestling with the critical issue of greenhouse-gas emissions," his statement says. "This ad is an effort to encourage congressional action, which is imperative to a nationwide, comprehensive approach to clean our air and create new economic-development opportunities for our state and nation."
Huntsman told the New York Times that action on the national level was preferable to the patchwork system that state governments have been putting in place. Last May Huntsman signed the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative spearheaded by Schwarzenegger, committing Utah to join with five other states and a Canadian province in helping develop regional goals for reducing greenhouse gases.
In Milwaukee on Wednesday, nine Midwestern governors and the premier of Manitoba signed an agreement to reduce carbon emissions and set up a trading system to meet the reduction targets, the New York Times reported. The Midwestern accord is modeled on similar regional carbon-reduction and energy-saving arrangements among Northeastern, Southwestern and West Coast states.
On the national level, a pending bill before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, called "America's Climate Security Act of 2007," aims to reduce total U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions by as much as 19 percent below the 2005 level by 2020 and by as much as 63 percent below the 2005 level by 2050, according to Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn. Lieberman and Sen. John Warner, R-Va., are the co-authors of the bill.
Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has held more than 20 hearings on global warming since the Democrats took control of Congress in January. She has said she would like to bring the bill to a vote of the full committee by Dec. 6. But there is no action scheduled after that, and while she wants to finish the bill before Congress adjourns for the year, the lawmakers' calendar is running out of days.
"I face this challenge with hope, and not fear," Boxer said at a hearing on the bill this week. "By facing this challenge now, we can maximize our chances of avoiding the most dangerous effects of climate change."
But the committee's top Republican, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, has strong concerns about the bill, primarily over the "hundreds of billions of dollars" the bill's provisions may cost, including an increase in energy costs to ratepayers.
"The fact is that this bill is not ready for prime time," Inhofe said this week. "It appears structured to fail."