Does Arlington County's member of Congress share the same environmental concerns as the constituents he serves? Let's start by looking at the concerns expressed in a recent Gallup survey.
At CNS News on Wednesday, Michael Chapman reports that "Americans’ concern over environmental issues such as water and air pollution and extinction of species is down from last year, and the data show that of all green issues, Americans worry the least about global warming (or climate change)." He cites this Gallup survey as his source.
In writing about their survey, Gallup's Jeffrey Jones highlights three points:
- Worry about most problems down after increasing in 2014
- Americans are most worried about polluted drinking water
- Americans worry least about global warming
He continues, explaining:
"The results are based on Gallup's annual Environment survey, conducted March 5-8. Gallup trends on many of these items stretch back more than two decades. Last year's increased worry has proved temporary, with the current level of worry on each of the problems back to about where it was in 2013.
"Despite ups and downs from year to year in the percentage worried about the various issues, the rank order of the environmental problems has remained fairly consistent over the decades. Americans express greater concern over more proximate threats -- including pollution of drinking water, as well as pollution of rivers, lakes and reservoirs, and air pollution -- than they do about longer-term threats such as global warming, the loss of rain forests, and plant and animal extinction.
"The amount Americans worry about the various threats tends to rise and recede in unison, with concern higher in the late 1980s and early 1990s during the revival of environmentalism, and in the late 1990s and early 2000s amid the economic boom. Since then, Americans' worry has fallen, with concern dipping to record lows on most issues in 2010 or 2011. The current level of worry on each issue remains at or near those record lows."
Gallup provides the following chart, showing the trends in American's environmental concerns:
In his story for CNS News, Chapman described the politics involved, writing:
"When Gallup broke the data down by political party, Republican versus Democrat, it found that only 13% of Republicans worry a “great deal” about global warming in 2015 while 52% of Democrats worry a “great deal” about the issue.
“Democrats worry more than Republicans about all of the issues,” said Gallup. “Notably, Democrats are more worried about global warming now than they were in 2000, perhaps reflecting the shift in the focus of the environmental agenda toward this issue.”
Investor's Business Daily (IBD) also reported on Gallup's environmental survey. IBD's Kerry Jackson wrote:
"For all the fright-mongering of the last quarter century, Americans still aren't getting too heated up about global warming."
< . . . >
"Given the narrative that's been pushed for decades, the relative lack of concern about global warming is somewhat surprising. Frankly, it appears the effort to instill fear has failed.
"Gallup says that "Americans' worry about it is no higher now than when Gallup first asked about it in 1989."
"Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans who believe global warming will never happen or not happen in their lifetimes decreased a single percentage point from 34% to 33%, both numbers off the all-time high of 35% of 2010 and 2011, but still significantly higher than the mere 23% who believed in 2006 that it would not happen.
"The portion who believe it has already begun crept up to 55% from 54%. But that's down from highs of 60% in 2007 and 61% in 2008.
"Perhaps most important is the fact that the percentage of Americans who "believe increases in the Earth's temperature over the last century" are natural has gone from 33% in 2001 to 41% this year, and at the same time the portion who believe that man has indeed caused the Earth to heat has fallen from 61% in 2001 to 55% in 14 years.
"This is the reality of models' projections vs. observed temperatures hitting home."
Apparently, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Virginia), who represents Arlington County, Alexandria, Falls Church, and portions of Fairfax County, has views much different from Americans in the Gallup survey. According to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution news report today:
"After a long career as a car dealer, lieutenant governor and ambassador, Democrat Don Beyer was elected to the U.S. of House Representatives last year with a focus on protecting the planet against climate change.
"Beyer, a Democrat from Virginia’s 8th District, reiterated his goal in a March 4 column for the Falls Church News-Press, calling global warming the “existential crisis of our generation, and of course the preeminent environmental issue.”
“More than 7,000 Americans lost their lives to climate change-fueled events last year,” he wrote.
"Beyer posted a similar statement on his congressional website on Feb. 4, saying climate change caused “almost 7,000” U.S. deaths last year. We wondered whether his claim is correct and asked for the source of Beyer’s information.
"Thomas Scanlon, a spokesman for Beyer, said the congressman’s office had made a mistake about the 7,000 deaths. “That number should be globally, not just in the United States,” he emailed. “We made an error in editing this column for FCNP.”
But apparently even the 7,000 worldwide deaths cannot be verified, and as a result, PolitiFact Virginia at the Richmond Times-Dispatch gave their ruling, writing:
"Beyer wrote, "More than 7,000 Americans lost their lives to climate change-fueled events last year." The congressman lacks documentation and admits he got his facts wrong. That makes our work easy: We rate Beyer’s statement False."
And at the Daily Caller, Michael Bastasch, who frequently writes on global warming topics, says Beyer's claim is "wildly untrue." He writes:
"The misleading nature of Beyer’s claim goes even further; to the heart of the global warming debate. Democrats and environmentalists have been working hard to try and tie in nearly every natural disaster or severe weather event to global warming.
"Indeed, Beyer himself argued that “[g]lobal temperature changes are causing prolonged droughts, extreme weather events and rising sea levels” adding that “[m]illions more are at risk unless we act to reverse the disastrous effects.” But such claims are dangerously misleading.
"First off, there is no evidence that natural disasters have gotten more severe due to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels or warmer temperatures. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change itself says there’s “limited evidence of changes in extremes associated with other climate variables since the mid-20th century.”
"IPCC data shows “no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century. … No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin.”
“In summary, there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale,” the IPCC found, adding that “that there is not enough evidence at present to suggest more than low confidence in a global-scale observed trend in drought or dryness (lack of rainfall) since the middle of the 20th century due to lack of direct observations, geographical inconsistencies in the trends.”
You can read Rep. Don Beyer's February 4, 2015 Falls Church News Presse commentary in which he makes the claim about 7,000 deaths here.
Growls readers wishing to tell their member of Congress to join their constituents are encourage to write their members of Congress. Ask them why they aren't dealing with the real concerns of the American people. Contact information is available at Thomas (use left-hand column). Taxpayers living in Virginia's Arlington County, should contact:
- Representative Don Beyer (D) -- write to him or call (202) 225-4376.
Ask for a written response. And, tell them ACTA sent you.