Friday, May 27, 2011

Dana Rohrabacher, Moron

I've said many times before that intelligence is absolutely not a requirement or even a desired trait to be in Congress. While there are some very smart people in Congress, there's little connection between intelligence and who gets leadership positions, nor is intelligence rewarded by voters, the media, donors, or one's colleagues.

See for instance California Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who astounded everyone today by making the argument that cutting down the rainforest would help fight climate change:

“Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rain forests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases?” the congressman asked Mr. Stern, according to Politico.

“Or would people be supportive of cutting down older trees in order to plant younger trees as a means to prevent this disaster from happening?” he continued.

Forestry experts were dumbfounded by Mr. Rohrabacher’s line of questioning, noting that the world’s forests currently absorb far more carbon dioxide than they emit — capturing roughly one-third of all man-made emissions and helping mitigate climate change.

“He’s seriously confused,” said Oliver Phillips, a professor of geography at the University of Leeds in Britain and an expert on terrestrial carbon storage. “He’s just got half of the equation. Natural things decay, of course, but they also grow.”

The idea that cutting down forests would result in a net reduction of emissions is “crazy,” Dr Phillips added. “The need is to reduce deforestation.”

Beverly Law, a professor of forest science at Oregon State University, found another hole in Mr. Rohrabacher’s logic. Roughly 75 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions from the natural world come not from above-ground biomass, but from the soil, she said. “You don’t even want to give this guy another wacky idea, but he forgot about soil,” Dr. Law said.

Moron. Complete freaking moron.