On Aug. 12, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) boldly proclaimed that global warming is a “total fraud” spearheaded by liberals who want to “create a global government to control all of our lives”. We’re used to hearing this sort of rhetoric from right-leaning politicians, but Rohrabacher’s declaration was particularly startling because he serves as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, of which he’s been a member for nearly two decades.
Here’s the backstory. Earlier this month, Sen. Barbara Boxer remarked that the high incidence of wildfires in California this summer should serve as a wake up call for climate change skeptics. “Warmer temperatures combined with long dry seasons have resulted in more severe wildfires, and it’s only going to get worse,” Boxer told reporters. “They will tell you, the wildfire season is starting earlier, it’s ending later.”
Sen. Boxer spoke from the site of the Silver Fire near the town of Banning, which consumed more than 20,000 acres before it was completely contained. A representative from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) told the Associated Press that the 4,300 wildfires reported in the state so far this year have burned roughly 71,000 acres; by this time last year, 3,000 wildfires in California had burned 40,000 acres. Now, firefighters are bracing for the annual arrival of the Santa Anas, high-pressure winds known to exacerbate the spread of wildfires. State officials predict that the 2013 wildfire season could go down as one of the most notorious in history.
Rep. Rohrabacher’s comments were direct response to Sen. Boxer’s argument. “Just so you’ll know, global warming is a total fraud and it’s being designed because what you’ve got is you’ve got liberals who get elected at the local level want state government to do the work and let them make the decisions,” he told a crowded town hall in . “Then, at the state level, they want the federal government to do it. And at the federal government, they want to create global government to control all of our lives.”
If you don’t believe he actually said these words, there is a video to prove it. To be fair, he was more or less preaching to the choir; several audience members applauded and chuckled approvingly during Rohrabacher’s speech. And it’s not as though he is alone in his stance, either; based on a recent poll, more than half of all U.S. congressional Republicans believe the threat of global warming simply doesn’t exist. Other elected skeptics include Chris Steward (R-Utah), who serves as Chair of the House Science Subommittee on Environment; Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio); and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has refused to support cap-and-trade energy reform legislation on the grounds that “[there] are dramatic environmental changes happening in the Arctic region – whether one believes they are man-made or natural”.
Just to play devil’s advocate, let’s assume that Rep. Rohrabacher knows what he is talking about. The man is a seasoned member of the House Science Committee ― maybe he knows something we don’t. Tell us, sir, what’s the culprit behind global climate change?
Dinosaur farts. Seriously, that was his explanation. During a congressional hearing, no less.
See kids, a global event known as the ‘Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum’ occurred roughly 55 million years ago. Many scientists attribute the extinction of millions of plant and animal species (including all those flatulent dinosaurs) to this uptick in worldwide temperatures caused by a sudden rise in greenhouse gas emissions. Now, many of these experts believe the thermal maximum was brought on by sudden releases of methane gas from the ocean floor. Not Rohrabacher, though. He’s sticking with dinosaur farts for the win. Or at least he did for about a year. After being rightfully ridiculed by numerous reporters and fellow politicians, he stated that the claim was merely a joke, and anyone who believed it was a “fool”. So just in case you have considered getting on board with the ‘dino-gas’ theory, remember that the man who invented it thinks you’re an idiot.
Regardless, Rohrabacher’s point was and is that climate change is nothing to fa… ahem, sneeze at. No, he says the real threat is this alleged liberal agenda. During the town hall meeting, he espoused his suspicions that Agenda 21, a series of sustainable resource management and development initiatives proposed by the United Nations, will invariably enable the U.S. government to confiscate property from American citizens and impose strict limitations on their lifestyle. Not combat climate change and develop feasible environmental solutions. That’s just what those sneaky blue staters want you to believe.
“It’s step by step by step, more and bigger control over our lives by higher levels of government. And global warming is that strategy in spades,” he said. “Our freedom to make our choices on transportation and everything else? No, that’s gotta be done by a government official who, by the way, probably comes from Nigeria because he’s a UN government official, not a US government official.” Interesting rant from a man who supported California’s Proposition 8, a statewide constitutional ban on gay marriage, saying he opposed “changing the definition of marriage in our society to make a small number of people feel more comfortably”.
But that’s a discussion for another day. What really matters here and now is Rohrabacher’s stance on environmental issues, and it’s pretty straightforward: “liberals” are exaggerating scientific data that supports climate change in order to corrupt the fundamentals of democracy and create a worldwide empire of tyranny and oppression. Because, you know, dinosaur farts and stuff.