Iowa Congressman Steve King made headlines last week for his colorful denials of climate change, but his muddling of scientific facts is not new from Republican leaders. Here are just some of the things Republican members of the House Science Committee have said about global warming:
1. Rep. Lamar Smith (Texas): ”We now know that prominent scientists were so determined to advance the idea of human-made global warming that they worked together to hide contradictory temperature data,” Smith said in 2009.
Science says… Smith was referring to reports that the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia tampered with data to fabricate a global warming trend. An independent review has since found that data was not tampered with or hidden.
2. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (California): “Just so you know, global warming is a total fraud and it is being designed by—what you’ve got is you’ve got liberals who get elected at the local level want state government to do the work and let them make the decisions. Then, at the state level, they want the federal government to do it. And at the federal government, they want to create global government to control all of our lives,” Rohrabacher said earlier this month.
Science says… Global warming is not a liberal conspiracy. In fact, there are Republican leaders who support climate change research: former Republican Rep. Bob Inglis, for example, who now heads the Energy and Enterprise Initiative at George Mason University. The organization’s mission is to convince conservatives that climate change is real.
3. Rep. Ralph M. Hall (Texas): “I’m really more fearful of freezing. And I don’t have any science to prove that. But we have a lot of science that tells us [climate scientists are] not basing it on real scientific facts. And we need to listen to more,” Hall told the National Journal in 2011.
Science says… NASA has a whole website dedicated to the scientific facts that prove global warming and are not disputable, from clearly rising sea levels to visibly shrinking ice sheets.
Hall had one thing right though: A fear of freezing, or frigophobia, is real.
4. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (Wisconsin): “I personally believe that the solar flares are more responsible for climatic cycles than anything that human beings do and our lunar, our rovers on Mars have indicated that there has been a slight warming in the atmosphere of Mars and that certainly was not caused by the internal combustion engine,” he said in 2009.
5. Rep. Paul Broun (Georgia): “Scientists all over this world say that the idea of human induced global climate change is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated out of the scientific community. It is a hoax. There is no scientific consensus,” Broun said on the House floor in 2009.
Science says… 97% of climate experts agree that global warming is real, and is caused by humans.
6. Rep. Randy Hultgren (Illinois): “Over the thousands of years that’s been recorded we’ve had both colder times and warmer times. It happens to be that we’ve recently come out of a warmer time and now actually we’re headed in to a little bit of a colder time, the impact of the sun is much different than impact that we could have had,” he said in 2009.
Science says… We are not headed into a cooling period.
7. Rep. Steve Stockman (Texas): “I want to talk to you today about the new fad thing that’s going through America and around the world: it’s called global warming,” Stockman said in a web video in 2009.
Science says… Global warming isn’t exactly a “new fad thing.” In 1896, Swedish scientist Svante Arrehnius suggested that burning fossil fuels would add CO2 to the Earth’s atmosphere, which would then raise the globe’s average temperature.
8. Rep. Thomas Massie (Kentucky): “I would challenge [President Obama] to show us the linkage—the undeniable linkage—between droughts and the change of weather, and some kind of human activity,” Massie, an MIT graduate, said earlier this year.
Science says… Rising greenhouse-gas levels, created in part by burning fossil fuels (i.e. coal and oil), have been found to play a role in the growing intensity of rain and snow.
9. Rep. Kevin Cramer (North Dakota): “These mandates and these wind farms are all based on this fraudulent science from the EPA, meaning their claim that CO2 is a pollutant and is causing global warming…We know the globe is cooling.”
Science says… Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant in that the Webster’s definition that pollution is “to make physically impure or unclean: Befoul, dirty,” but, as Dr. Jeffrey Masters of Weather Underground writes, “Webster’s also has the definition: ‘to contaminate (an environment) esp. with man-made waste.’ Carbon dioxide is a waste gas produced by fossil fuel combustion, so can be classified as man-made waste. One can also make the case that carbon dioxide is contaminating the environment, since increased CO2 from burning fossil fuels has already harmed sea life.”
Also, the globe is not cooling.
10. Rep. Chris Stewart (Utah): “I’m not as convinced as a lot of people are that man-made climate change is the threat they think it is,” he said earlier this year.