The US's most Republican state passes bill disputing science of climate change, claiming emissions are 'essentially harmless'
Carbon dioxide is "essentially harmless" to human beings and good for plants. So now will you stop worrying about global warming?
Utah's House of Representatives apparently has at least. Officially the most Republican state in America, its political masters have adopted a resolution condemning "climate alarmists", and disputing any scientific basis for global warming.
The measure, which passed by 56-17, has no legal force, though it was predictably claimed by climate change sceptics as a great victory in the wake of the controversy caused by a mistake over Himalayan glaciers in the UN's landmark report on global warming.
But it does offer a view of state politicians' concerns in Utah which is a major oil and coal producing state.
The original version of the bill dismissed climate science as a "well organised and ongoing effort to manipulate and incorporate "tricks" related to global temperature data in order to produce a global warming outcome". It accused those seeking action on climate change of riding a "gravy train" and their efforts would "ultimately lock billions of human beings into long-term poverty".
In the heat of the debate, the representative Mike Noel said environmentalists were part of a vast conspiracy to destroy the American way of life and control world population through forced sterilisation and abortion.
By the time the final version of the bill came to a vote, cooler heads apparently prevailed. The bill dropped the word "conspiracy", and described climate science as "questionable" rather than "flawed".
However, it insisted – against all evidence – that the hockey stick graph of changing temperatures was discredited. It also called on the federal government's Environmental Protection Agency to order an immediate halt in its moves to regulate greenhouse gas emissions "until a full and independent investigation of climate data and global warming science can be substantiated".
As Noel explained: "Sometimes ... we need to have the courage to do nothing."