Correction: The conversation regarding climate change ended due to time running out, not due to controversy. According to Christopher McMahon, the president of Phi Delta Phi, "AG Peterson specifically said he welcomed tough questions, and the environmental question as well as his response were not particularly heated."
Nebraska’s 32nd attorney general, Doug Peterson, spoke to Creighton law students Tuesday about Nebraska law enforcement and issues concerning future Nebraska lawyers. The event was hosted by the Phi Delta Phi International Legal Society.
During the presentation, Peterson described his journey from law school to serving as the head of the Nebraska Department of Justice, calling his role “one of the most fulfilling jobs a lawyer can do.”
“It’s the closest you can come to really moving the needle,” Peterson said. “There’s nothing more gratifying than working with great lawyers and doing something that really matters at the end of the day.”
Peterson also shared how he prioritizes cases that involve the United States government, including his efforts to strengthen legislation against human trafficking and child sexual assault cases in Nebraska.
“We get presented with all kinds of things that we can get engaged with. [However], we had to decide from our constitutional responsibility what our priorities should be, and we decided that our priority is to protect the most vulnerable,” Peterson said.
According to Nebraska Family Alliance, Nebraska substantially increased penalties for trafficking in the state in 2016, one year after Peterson assumed office. The Nebraska Human Trafficking Task Force was also formed under Peterson to help law enforcement and community partners tackle the issue.
The open questions portion of the event ended after a law student asked Peterson if he believed in climate change. Peterson expressed his wariness toward mixing science with politics and argued that he needed more evidence before he could agree with man-made climate change.
“I’m not convinced in the United States or in the world that man-made activity is influencing global warming,” Peterson said. “We need to question the information we’re being told.”
The session was cut short by the moderator when the discussion moved to climate change because the time had run out and a class was starting in the room.
A recent poll conducted by Yale University found that 73 percent of Americans accept that climate change is happening.