McMorris Rodgers’ Answer to Summer Smoke

Dear Group,

Yesterday morning I tried to run…no, not really, heavy exertion was dangerous. The surrounding hills were nearly lost in the haze. The particulates clung to my tongue.  Each summer for years now we have spent weeks breathing smoke and experiencing a vague feeling of dread. When will the smoke herald a fire whipped by dry wind that will race through town? How many more summers before people like McMorris Rodgers are forced to acknowledge this is more than a problem of forest cleanup? How much more time is there?

The local climate trend and the reason for it are clear. Water and fire are the main players in the global warming story in the Inland Northwest. Climate models all point to longer drier summers with earlier runoff. Drier summers produce drought-stressed trees with less resistance to disease and beetles. Warmer winters fail to kill bark beetle larvae. Wet springs with earlier runoff combine with drier summers to add to the load of dry fuel on the ground. 

Seventeen of the eighteen hottest years (globally) since modern record-keeping began have occurred since 2001. (See a particularly striking animation of the data here at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s website.) The evidence for both correlation with and causation from the burning of carbon fuels and release of other greenhouse gases is overwhelming…and either incomprehensible to McMorris Rodgers or simply denied.

In the midst of the smoke and worry what has McMorris Rodgers been up to in Congress? Are she and her handlers studying the science, looking into the future, proposing solutions, paying attention? Are they leaders? Are they intellectually equipped to lead?

Here’s the answer: On July 19 the U.S. House passed H.Con.Res.119Expressing the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the United States economy. 

McMorris Rodgers joined with all but six other Republicans in the House to make this declaration and send it off to U.S. Senate (where it will surely be ignored…at least until after the November election).

If the United States (and the world) is ever going to curb its addiction to burning carbon and begin to address the global warming that is already happening it will require government action. The only free market friendly government action available to us is some form of tax or fee that predictably raises the cost of carbon-based fuels. (My hands-down favorite is the “carbon fee and dividend” scheme put forward by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby.) Otherwise we are condemned to ever increasing mop up operations to deal with the consequences of the accelerating climate change: manual reduction of forest fuels, sea walls, hurricane and tornado recovery efforts, and addressing global migration and conflicts precipitated by climate disaster.

All but thirteen Republicans (seven did not vote) in the U.S. House took the time out of their busy schedules to state an article of their faith: H.Con.Res.119 effectively confirms Trump’s dismissal of the whole of climate science as a Chinese hoax. If that were not so, why would they bother, unbidden, to take off the table the only free market-based mechanism to encourage renewable energy and energy conservation?  

Their are two choices. With this Resolution the Republicans are either declaring a race to the bottom or they are expressing science denial. Either one is a disqualification for public office. Supposedly we elect officials with intelligence and foresight to represent us in government. We elect them with the conviction they are smarter than we, that they engage in the due diligence necessary to reasonably look into the future and act in our best interest, the best interest of the country, and the best interest of the world. 

By casting a vote for this uncalled for declaration of faith, McMorris Rodgers and her Republican/Libertarian brethren have demonstrated their miserable failure to understand and protect that interest. 

No amount of forest cleanup or defense of Snake River dams (McMorris Rodgers’ two favorite responses to any question about climate change) offer the slightest likelihood of slowing the climate change that is already upon us. McMorris Rodgers gratuitous vote for H.Con.Res.119 is a declaration of her short-sightedness.

McMorris Rodgers does not represent me. Send her packing in November.

Keep to the high ground,