Commentary: Rohrabacher should shift climate-change position

U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's continuous propaganda rejecting human-caused climate change puts our economy, national security and children at risk. If he does not change his position, it is time for the voters of his district to replace him.

This week the U.S. Global Change Research Program released its 2014 National Climate Assessment. It reinforces what 97% of all climate scientists and more than 200 national science academies across the world say: The burning of fossil fuels is changing the earth's climate and is already affecting the United States.

Climate-change increases the threat of extreme rain, drought and fire events, and scientists say these events will increase in frequency and intensity if we do nothing to curb our carbon emissions. Since 1980 the United States has seen a fivefold increase of extreme weather events.

Droughts in 2011 and 2012 caused $30 billion in crop losses, and drought currently encompasses almost 40% of the United States. In 2012 the estimate for overall losses due to weather catastrophes in North America was $80 billion, however, only $20 billion of that was insured.

Who pays the rest of that bill? Taxpayers.

In March the Department of Defense released its 2014 Quadrennial Review. It cites climate change as one of the primary global dynamics of the 21st century and links it to our national security, water, food, energy and economic security.

Tom Ridge, former secretary of Homeland Security under George W. Bush, told Pennsylvania's Patriot News, "The U.S. national security community, including leaders from the military, Homeland Security, and intelligence, understand that climate change is a national security threat. They're not talking about whether or not it is occurring – it is. They're talking about addressing the problem and protecting the American people. It's time Washington does the same."

We are the first generation to know that the burning of fossil fuels causes climate change and to see its effects. We are also the last generation able to head off the most severe consequences of climate change for our kids and future generations. Confronting climate change will strengthen our national security, our economy and our health. It will also show the world, once again, that the United States of America is willing to collectively rise up to any threat that confronts us.

Climate scientists have put us on notice. The next few years are crucial. We need policies that begin to significantly reduce our carbon emissions to avoid the worst risks that climate change will bring. It's the ultimate test of what America stands for.

America cannot afford to ignore the devastating risks that climate change brings, especially when the benefits of taking action are so great. As vice chair of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Congressman Rohrabacher's blatant disregard for the scientific evidence will impact my family and yours.

Voters in his district have a simple question to answer: Do I want Congressman Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) to represent me in Congress when he believes human-caused climate change is "bogus"?

TIM RECKMEYER lives in Minnesota, where he works as a technical account manager for Microsoft. His views are his own. The opinions expressed in this article are those of Mr. Reckmeyer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Microsoft or any of its affiliates.

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World