AUDIO: Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) Says Solar Cycles Cause Climate Change

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 07 Aug 2013 20:24:00 GMT

Montana Congressman Steve Daines believes that there is “compelling” evidence that solar cycles, not industrial pollution, are causing global warming. In a 2012 radio interview unearthed by Hill Heat, then-candidate Daines (R-Mont.) details to NPR’s Sally Mauk his version of the “sun causes global warming” canard:

Q: You mentioned that there is debate about whether human activity is contributing to climate change, the burning of fossil fuels particularly. My question is where do you come down on that debate. Is it, or is it not?

DAINES: I think the jury’s still out in my opinion, Sally, on that. I’ve seen some very good data that says there are other contributing factors there, certainly looking at the effect the sun has, and it’s the solar cycles versus CO2 and greenhouse gases. So I look at this as saying I want to keep an open mind on this, but I’m not convinced. I’m a skeptic, I hear sometimes on both sides, because I think they’re using their agenda here just for political points here rather than looking objectively at the data. I think there’s compelling data on both sides of the equation now, for and against, that I think we need to continue to look and study this before making firm policy-type decisions on it.


In reality, the carbon-dioxide greenhouse effect is a physical fact known since the 1800s. The only scientifically plausible explanation for the rapid warming of the planetary climate since 1950 is industrial greenhouse pollution. The variations in solar warming and other natural influences, scientists have found, have had a cooling influence entirely swamped out by human-induced warming. Because of the hundreds of billions of tons of industrial carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere, the global climate is continuing to warm, with every decade since the 1970s warmer than the last, and the impacts of global warming are accelerating faster than scientists projected.

Full interview audio is available here.

Montana Utility Scraps Coal Plant For Low-Carbon Power

Posted by Wonk Room Tue, 03 Feb 2009 19:53:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.

HighwoodRecognizing the new era of “energy transformation,” a Montana electric utility has decided to “scrap its plans for a $900 million coal-fired power plant east of Great Falls and turn instead to renewable energy to meet the needs of its 65,000 Montana customers.”

Years ago, the Southern Montana Generation and Transmission Cooperative introduced plans to build the Highwood Generating coal-fired plant to satisfy the electricity needs of Great Falls, Montana. Today, CEO Tim Gregori announced “they are changing construction plans from a coal-fired facility to a natural gas and high wind producing plant.” This switch will dramatically reduce the pollution footprint of the facility, from soot to greenhouse gases, and will take less time to get up and running. Montana Environmental Information Center Program Director, Anne Hedges, announced, “This is a relief”:
It’s a relief to the land owners adjacent to the plant. It is a relief to people across the state and across the nation who are concerned about the direction of our climate.

MEIC, Citizens for Clean Energy, Earthjustice, and Sierra Club’s Move Beyond Coal campaign worked together for years to challenge the Highwood plant on its environmental impact, including its mercury and particulate matter pollution. The utility also recognized that the global warming emissions of coal give the fuel an “aura of uncertainty”—in other words, a large economic risk, as has been pointed out repeatedly by economic analysts. It no longer makes environmental nor economic sense to rely on 19th-century technology to power a 21st-century America.