There is an unfortunate irony to the politics of climate change. Florida faces severe risks from the climate crisis, arguably more than any other state, and yet Florida also has a habit of electing Republican policymakers who refuse to believe climate science, refuse to take the issue seriously, and refuse to even consider modest steps to address global warming.
This includes Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who recently responded to questions about the climate crisis by saying, more than once, “I’m not a scientist.” It also includes Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), whose climate denialism has fairly been characterized as “a train wreck of incoherence.”
And it includes Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), who told msnbc’s Richard Lui this morning that it’s “foolish” to believe in climate change, adding that there are “scientists on both sides of the issue that say that’s it’s not settled.”
The congressman, sticking to the usual climate deniers’ talking points, added that the climate does change – “it gets hot; it gets cold” – and it led to this curious exchange.
“But, manmade, isn’t that the question?” Lui pressed.“Then why did the dinosaurs go extinct? Were there men that were causing – were there cars running around at that point that were causing global warming? No,” Miller concluded. “The climate has changed since Earth was created.”
You can watch the video of this below. I’m reasonably certain Miller wasn’t kidding or trying to make climate deniers appear foolish on purpose.
It just seemed to work out that way.
For what it’s worth, the Florida Republican’s response to a sensible question was one of the more ridiculous non sequiturs I’ve seen in a while. Asked if human activity is responsible for the climate crisis – and all of the evidence clearly shows it is – the congressman asked, “Then why did the dinosaurs go extinct?”
That doesn’t any make any sense. None. It’s little more than gibberish. For his constituents in Florida, it had to be a dangerously unsettling moment.
It was not, however a surprise. This is the same congressman who has vowed to eliminate all funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and who recently told his constituents, “Our climate will continue to change because of the way God formed the earth.”
And just so we’re clear, Miller isn’t some random guy calling into Rush Limbaugh’s radio show with a bizarre comment. He’s an 11-year veteran of Congress who currently serves as a committee chairman.
History will not be kind.