Mooney: Rohrabacher and Climate Change

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The 2016 election is upon us and we should at least publish the positons of our representatives and their rationale so that voters have an opportunity to be informed. As an example, it is well known that our 48th Congressional District Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a climate change denier, but few know that his rationale and basis for this is very questionable.

There is a group of for-hire climate change deniers that have worked to cast doubt on the facts supporting climate change and man’s involvement in it. This group has a very infamous background, but it appears that Rohrabacher has accepted their positions and used them as a basis for denying climate change. The background of these professional deniers is important.

In the 1980’s the tobacco industry recruited some highly credentialed, but ideologically very conservative, scientists to intentionally and erroneously discredit and cast doubt on the science showing cigarette smoking was linked to cancer. At that time, this effort kept the controversy alive and kept the tobacco industry safe from litigation and regulation. This became known as the “Tobacco Strategy” and has been documented in the book “Merchants of Doubt”.

According to “Merchants of Doubt,” this strategy has been used by some of the same scientists, with the support of industrial giants, to discredit and cast doubt on several key issues. They deceptively argued in favor of DDT, that acid rain and the hole in the ozone were caused by volcanoes, and that the EPA had slanted the science showing the dangers of second hand cigarette smoke. More recently, and over more than the last 20 years, they dismissed climate change. They originally claimed there was no global warming, then it was natural variation, and then even if it was happening and man was causing it, it didn’t matter because we would adapt to it. Over and over this group has been proven wrong.

One of the prominent members of this infamous group was Siegfried (Fred) Singer and in 1995 this was the person that Rep. Rohrabacher had testify that facts on ozone depletion were wrong[iv]. Of course it was Singer that was wrong.

Fred Singer and other professional deniers found in “Merchants of Doubt,” authored half of the quotes found in Rohrabacher’s 2007 site under the heading Climate Change Quotes. These questionable quotes appear to have served as Rohrabacher’s basis for denying climate change.[v]

In addition, Rohrabacher’s 2016 website includes a section on global warming.[vi] It includes little peer reviewed science and few authors are shown. However, if you follow the few links that work, many of them go to comments by many of the same people included in “Merchants of Doubt.”

Considering Rohrabacher’s incredibly bad and risky choice of references for his rationale for climate change denial, don’t vote for him. Dr. Sue Savary is a better option for the 48th Congressional District.   She has a keen interest in the environment and mitigating the potential impact of climate change, particularly on our coastal residents, and she won’t be fooled by merchants of doubt.

Charles Mooney is a resident of Costa Mesa. 

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