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Tuesday, October 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  ID Government

Eye on Boise: Climate change troubling, but U.S. already doing more than other countries, Idaho senator says

UPDATED: Sat., Sept. 28, 2019, 5:08 p.m.

By Betsy Russell Idaho Press

At the close of Idaho Sen. Jim Risch’s recent foreign policy speech in Boise, a Boise State University political science student asked him about climate change.

“I have a lot of respect for your office and what you do for Idaho citizens,” the young man, Jack Briggs, who was dressed in a suit, told the senator. He noted that Risch hadn’t brought the topic up in his speech. Briggs cited a Pentagon assessment about worldwide security risks that climate change poses that was presented to senators in 2015, and said, “I think it’s an important global cooperation issue.”

“Do you agree with that assessment,” Briggs asked Risch, “and what can you do as chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to push a bill, to hear bills or to create a conversation around global cooperation on climate change?”

Risch responded, “Do I agree with that assessment? I do, yes. In fact, I don’t think it went far enough, it only focused on military things, when it comes to people migrating because of climate and what have you.”

“To be honest with you, I don’t have a magic solution for that,” Risch said. “There’s a lot of debate going on about it. I listen to the debate on it.”

“If it is as bad as the people that are on the edge of it say it is, I don’t know that there’s anything anybody can do about it,” the senator said, “but I think that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to try to do something about it.”

“There’s no question there’s climate change,” he said. “I mean, that’s … science. The pictures are there, if you look at the pictures. The cause of it, there’s debate on that. I think the theory is a very valid theory, that it’s caused by human emissions. If that’s the case, I’ve read some of the stuff about that, and the world’s in a very precarious situation, if that’s the case.”

“We have a tendency to focus on what we’re doing in America about that, the recycling, and that,” Risch said. “We’ve dramatically reduced our emissions here in America. But you go around the world, there are very few places that are governed as closely as we are.”

“Everyone says, ‘Oh, if we do it, everybody else will follow,’ ” he said. “I go to places in the world where people didn’t know where their next meal is coming from. They don’t care about global warming. They care about eating and feeding their kids tonight. And so when they think about how they’re going to warm it up, and starting a tire on fire to heat their food, it doesn’t bother them.”

“This is troubling, this is very, very troubling,” Risch told the audience of 125 at the Boise Committee on Foreign Relations-sponsored event on Sept. 13. “You kids, we’re handing this off to you in not too long. So I hope you’ll study it, and I hope you’ll have the answer by the time we get there,” he said. “It’s a difficult problem.”

Harris: ‘We have read it’

Nancy Harris, a Boise businesswoman who is running for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by Risch, issued a statement Friday about the impeachment inquiry in the House, responding to Risch’s calls for Idahoans to read the documents, including a whistleblower complaint and White House transcript. Here’s her statement:

“We are about to face the most serious impeachment of a president in the history of the United States and Sen. Jim Risch wants us to read every word of the whistleblower report and make our own decisions while at the same time he says there is nothing there. Well, Senator, we have read it and there is a violation of law and there may be a cover-up as well. If Sen. Risch would quit playing politics with our laws and Constitution, he would see that the president solicited help from the president of Ukraine for a political reason, and that is a violation of United States law. Senator, let me remind you, you are a lawyer as well as a career politician, so you know that the law states: ‘It shall be unlawful for … a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation (money or other thing of value) from a foreign national in connection with a federal, state, or local election.’ Jim, what else needs to be read?

“As your new United States senator, I will make sure our laws are enforced regardless of party. We are a country of laws and no one is above the law.”

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