The California Coast and its Local Climate Denial Representatives
I have covered the climate denier presidential candidates that come from Florida, namely beach hotel owner Donald Trump, ex-Governor Jeb Bush, and Senator Marco Rubio. I covered the climate denier Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz and the Texas coastline. It is time to turn attention to my own California coastline and its politics.
California has the largest congressional delegation, starting with two Democratic Senators, Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. We have 53 House Representatives, 39 of which are Democrats, and 14 of which are Republicans. That is 74% Democrats, or almost 3 to 1.
I have counted that there are 14 coastal districts. Of these, 12 are represented by Democrats, which I assume are largely climate science acceptors. The most amazing of these is district 2 which is represented by Democrat Jared Huffman. It covers the entire coast North of San Francisco to the Oregon border.
But two districts are represented by Republicans who are climate science deniers. Unfortunately, UCI and I are next to both of these districts.
The CA 48th district, which covers Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach, is represented by climate change denier Dana Rohrabacher. I often walk in Laguna Beach and Balboa Island, and recently post photos of the plants there on my flickr account.
The CA 49th district, which covers Dana Point, San Clemente, Oceanside, Carlsbad, and Encinitas, is represented by Republican and climate change denier Darrell Issa.
Lets look at Rohrabacker’s committee assignments. He is a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, very impressive assignments. However, he is also on the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment. Not a great assignment for a climate change denier. In 1994 he became Chairman of the Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Environment. He increased funding for solar and oceans research. He also cut the 1996 budget of wasteful spending on the Department of Energy, NOAA, and the EPA, brags his website.
Rohrabacher encourages all US energy resources, except coal, which is outlawed in California.
But he calls climate change science “emotional junk science”. He also says “constituents may be interested to learn of the growing scientific consensus that global warming is not manmade, if it is in fact even occurring”. His website links to a dozen climate denial websites, but really dates back to the fight against the Kyoto treaty in 2001.
Rohrabacher has championed aerospace companies in Huntington Beach. They are full of scientists and engineers that could have enlightened him about the consensus on climate science. He is only a few minutes from UC Irvine, with our highly rated Earth System Science Department, and the Beckman Center of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering. Any of the UCI faculty and Beckman visitors would be happy at any time to come to his office and give him or his staff lectures on climate science.
His local conservative newspaper, the Orange County Register, now has weekly articles on climate science and the dangers to the local coast from sea level rise. That might be of concern to him since his office is right across coast highway from Huntington Beach.
Balboa Island, the Newport Peninsula, and Huntington Beach, among other cities, are preparing for sea level rise through this century. They are increasing sea wall heights, and on Balboa Island, new houses have to have a solid base for about 2.5 feet above street level. They have to prepare for super storms at high tide where both storm surge and inflow through the bay from heavy rains produce the perfect flood.
There also is a new issue where the very educated and experienced executive director of the Coastal Commission, Charles Lester, has been fired, presumably in the interest of allowing more coastal development. This has been commented on in a letter to the Huntington Beach Independent by Tom Osborne.
Many coastal cities have also been affected by the four year long drought, which we are just starting to recover from.
Orange County Coastkeeper at Coastkeepers.org is concerned with water conservation and fighting unneeded and expensive desalination plants.
Surfriders Foundation at www.surfrider.org has a five year goal of protecting the entire U.S. Coast.
Protecting the Oceans is the goal of the Ocean Conservancy at Oceanconservancy.org.
Republican Darrell Issa is the wealthiest member of Congress, worth $255 million. He made his fortune manufacturing car alarms and theft deterrent systems, which sounds like a high tech industry with many scientists and engineers who could tell him his devices would not work but for science. He served in the US army and rose to the rank of Captain. Being on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, he investigated “the politicization of science at the EPA”.
As former Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, he led an investigation into Benghazi (now you know who I mean). He is the source of the quote that the FBI “would like to indict both Huma and Hillary Clinton” for conducting sensitive government business on an insecure, private email server. He must have felt undermined when his fellow Republicans admitted that his hearings were for political purposes only.
Issa’s climate science position is to claim that the science community is not in agreement on the problem. He then contradicts that by saying that they have not pointed out when it is truly catastrophic. George W. Bush had the same attitude: tell me when we reach criticality, and I will turn off all fossil fuels, as if that wouldn’t then collapse the country.
Rep. Issa’s district is nearby the highly ranked UC San Diego, and the Scripps Institute. They have many experts that could brief him or his staff on climate science, and the local problems to his beach communities that will be caused by climate change