If a group of governors in, say, Siberia, met to discuss their common challenges and how best to meet them, you'd expect them to include obvious topics such as long, sub-zero winters. But when the governors of Western U.S. states met last week, they danced all around what should have been the hot topic: climate change.
The American West is, in many ways, ground zero for human-caused climate change. We are already experiencing the devastating effects of our reliance on fossil fuels: severe drought; larger, hotter, more destructive wildfires; higher temperatures; shrinking snowpack; dwindling water resources; potentially fatal pollution. We have shortsightedly built our economy around mining and drilling for carbon-based energy.
That proverbial elephant in the room full of governors should have caught everyone's attention at the association's meetings. But, true to form, Republican governors, including Utah's Gary Herbert, ultimately ignored the issue that underscores all the others.