It may seem a little early in the 2014 process for a candidates’ debate – Election Day is still 351 days away – but in Colorado last week, all four Republicans running for governor got together for the election cycle’s first forum. And for the most part, state Sen. Greg Brophy (R), former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R), Secretary of State Scott Gessler (R), and former state Sen. Mike Kopp (R) did what you’d expect them to do: bash incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper (D).
But the fine folks at Colorado Pols highlighted a segment of the televised debate in which the candidates were asked if they think climate change is true and whether they think carbon emissions are affecting Colorado’s environment (thanks to my colleague Laura Conaway for the tip).
BROPHY: No I don’t think it’s true nor a problem. You know, I run a carbon sequestration factory in eastern Colorado, where we come from we call that a corn farm. So I like CO2 in the air, my corn plants do a good job of putting it into the ground. […]KOPP: I’ll tell you what, going after a problem like trying to mitigate CO2 can cost millions and millions of dollars, and even if you do have some success, it’s immediately eaten up by the likes of China. We’re killing people who are just trying to put food on their table. We shouldn’t be doing that. […]GESSLER: I think there’s been a lot of hysteria surrounding, uh, CO2. And I think, when you look at, rationally, over the last decade or so, there’s not been a, uh, there’s actually been a reduction here in the United States. In part, because we’ve become more efficient than that. And I think the fact of the matter is, when we push out industry, when we hurt our economy, other countries pick up the slack, and pollute more than we ever did. So I don’t think that the response we’ve seen from this government has been right once. […]TANCREDO: I saw a great debate a while back between an environmentalist and someone who wasn’t, I suppose, who wouldn’t categorize that way. She, the environmentalist, was claiming that the earth had gotten warmer as a result of man’s action, and the other person said, indeed, that’s not the case, in the last few years, it’s actually gotten colder. And so, what’s happening, which one is it, and she says, well I don’t know but it’s something though. Right? It’s something. Something is changing, yeah, it always is changing. That is the nature of our environment. Our, our, it is so, it’s such hubris the idea that we as human beings actually control that process. Um, yes, there is climate change, there always has been, there always will be. And the idea of spending billions of dollars going after CO2, frankly, is silly.
So, of the four Republicans hoping to become governor, all four are climate deniers – and one wants to see carbon emissions increase (state Sen. Greg Brophy was specifically asked if he’s for “more CO2,” and he replied, “I am”).
Remember, recent polling suggests there are steep divisions within Republican politics over the climate crisis – mainstream Republican voters generally believe climate science is real; Tea Party Republicans generally do not.
In Colorado, there’s no real mystery as to which wing of the party is ascendant.