TAMPA, FL — Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) told ThinkProgress Wednesday he does not accept climate change science, arguing the issue is impossible to legislate. Asked after a Tampa town hall if he thinks climate change is happening — or if he sides with the 56 percent of the GOP caucus who deny mainstream climate science — Ross said, “climate change has gone on for millions of years.”
“I think we are contributing to some climate change, but I am not accepting all the theories that are out there that say climate change is what it is because of us.”
Ross then compared climate change to gun violence, both of which he thinks start and end with “personal responsibility”:
DENNIS ROSS: I wouldn’t say [climate change] doesn’t require action. I think personal responsibility, if I could legislate personal responsibility, you wouldn’t have to worry about climate change. You wouldn’t have to worry about people carrying guns anyplace. But I can’t legislate personal responsibility. Personal responsibility is the one thing that people understand the consequences of their actions and in doing so will exercise the appropriate behavior with whom they interact and with those that follow them into the next generations. So if you want to talk climate change, if you want to talk gun control, if you want to talk more laws, it all starts with one thing: Personal responsibility. And that’s where we have to go. It’s an unfortunate thing that we can’t legislate.
In other words: carbon pollution may be bad, but huge corporations are just going to pollute and cause climate change and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
Ross joins the 130-plus House members on the record saying that well-established climate science is wrong. He represents a district close to Tampa Bay, an Environmental Protection Agency-designated estuary that’s working to adapt to climate change. In a coastal state facing particularly severe impacts from climate change, the question is not whether climate change is a problem for Tampa, but how best officials can adapt to the consequences.
This week, the world again crossed a record 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide. It is a preview of what is the new normal if carbon pollution continues to be left to the fossil fuel industry’s “personal responsibility.”