During two Iowa town halls last week, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) put his natural penchant for outlandish statements on display. Prior to calling President Obama a “Marxist” who “does not have an American experience,” King fielded a number of questions about energy and climate change. His responses revealed a man not just skeptical of climate change, but downright hostile to science in general.
King began by contending that the 97% of scientists who support the evidence behind manmade climate change are “frauds.” He then proceeded to call the notion of manmade climate change “not rational” but “a religion” like “the modern version of the rain dance”:
KING: Every civilization, according to this Professor Brown, has not only always paid attention to the weather. Every civilization has tried to affect and change the weather. So whether it’s the Chinese seeding clouds, whether it’s some of the industrialized nations in the world trying to get together for cap-and-trade to try to reduce the CO2 emissions. You know, this might be the modern version of the rain dance.[...] It’s not rational, it’s a religion that we’re up against. I mean that from the broadest sense of the word. It’s something you can’t necessarily prove.
King later admitted that he doesn’t just disagree with taking steps to combat climate change, but he fundamentally opposes climate change science. King recoils at the fact that most GOP leaders agree with the science, arguing instead that “you don’t ever give up a premise unless you happen to believe that they’re right. And we should not concede the science of this.” He proceeded to put his minimal scientific understanding on full display, agreeing with a constituent who was “amazed” that people faulted carbon dioxide when it’s the main ingredient plants use to produce oxygen:
KING: They have not made that scientific case. I have always argued against the science. Some of our leadership have said “don’t argue the science.” They get pollsters in and coach us. I’m not very coachable…(laughing)…But I’ve said “you don’t ever give up a premise unless you happen to believe that they’re right.” And we should not concede the science of this. And they say, “you should just argue the economics, not the science.” Well, no. They were wrong on the science[...]
CONSTITUENT: Do you realize that carbon dioxide is the main ingredient plants use with sunshine to make oxygen and sugars for us to eat and for animals. What’s the matter with carbon dioxide? It’s amazing to me the way some of these people think.
KING: I agree with you. There have been many times in the history of the planet that we’ve had higher concentrations of CO2 than we have here today. There are a couple of German engineers that took that theory apart and proved it wrong in a lab. I’ve read through that, but I’d have to go back to school for a half a year or a year to tell you I followed every bit of their rationale. But the presumption of the Greenhouse Effect is at least, from what I saw, was pretty convincingly rebutted.
However, instead of using science to predict and fight climate change, King advised instead that we turn instead to the Bible. Given that rising sea levels are threatening to swallow up entire nations, that may not be such bad advice:
CONSTITUENT: It’s got nothing to do with carbon dioxide. It’s got to do with socialization [sic]. Just like their tax on energy. That’s got nothing to do with our benefit. Where’s this tax go to that they’re wanting to spend for their supposedly bad things we got ahold of? Where does it go to? And who’s blamed?
KING: I think you make an important point. I know that there is a good number of them that believe that the science says that the earth is getting warmer and we can control it. Some of them really believe it. Control is a big part of it. I finally found a book that I’d been looking for – one to help me figure out what’s going on – and the answers are in the Bible.