Marlboro country

Western Business Roundtable and the Marlboro Man: separated at birth?

Western Business Roundtable and the Marlboro Man: separated at birth?

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What hath Bjørn Lomborg wrought? For the past several years, as international concern for global warming has heated up, the gay Dane of environmental skepticism has traveled the lecture circuit, planting seeds of doubt worldwide. Apparently, those seeds are taking root, at least here in the states. A recent Gallup poll found the number of people who don’t believe global warming is a serious problem has risen, from 38 percent in 2004 to 41 percent currently. Of course, Auntie Ruth doesn’t give Lomborg all the credit. Pseudoscientific, anti-environmental right-wing shills such as Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh must be given their due as well.

Auntie knows what you’re thinking: That 3 percent increase is pretty darned near to the poll’s margin of error. That didn’t stop the Western Business Roundtable from using the blip to justify everything from the construction of more coal-fired power plants to gutting the Clean Water Act to drilling for oil off the California coast. It seems amazing that at this late date the Roundtable continues to push against the tide of sustainability. It’s as if they’re suffering from some sort of cancerous entropy. Perhaps that explains why the organization’s symbol looks awfully similar to the Marlboro Man.

Not that your Ruthness doesn’t appreciate the Roundtable’s regular updates. Despite the organization’s primary mission—to increase access to and decrease regulation of the natural resources in the eight Western states, including California—the updates point to fundamental issues that concern all of us, no matter what side of the aisle we’re on. For proponents of alternative-energy sources such as wind and solar power, which often have to be situated away from large population centers, lack of transmission lines remain a huge stumbling block. Concessions will have to be made. Who knows? Members of the NIMBY crowd who support alternative energy may have to rethink their stance on power lines running through their backyards, if they want the lights to stay on.