New Mexico GOP candidates deny global warming reality

We’ve seen that every GOP Senate candidate in NH is a global warming denier.  We’ve seen that Republicans across the country are embracing pro-pollution, anti-science candidates.  And so it is with New Mexico, as Brad Johnson explains.

Even though New Mexico is facing a future of perpetual drought, killer heat waves, water scarcity, and wildfires, the crop of Republican candidates for major office in the state are in denial about the threat of global warming pollution.

Gubernatorial nominee Susana Martinez denies the science of manmade climate change. All three congressional candidates “” Steve Pearce, oil engineer Tom Mullins, and corporate lobbyist Jon Barela “” similarly believe scientists are engaged in a conspiracy to destroy our economy. Barela and Pearce are signatories of the “No Climate Tax” pledge organized by Americans for Prosperity, the front group supported by the Koch Industries brothers that fights limits on global warming pollution:

“[T]here is disagreement in the science community concerning the causes of global warming.” “” Susana Martinez

“I don’t mean to be flippant about this, but only God knows where our climate is going.” “” Jon Barela

“I think we ought to take a look at whatever the group is that measures all this, the IPCC, they don’t even believe the crap.” “” Steve Pearce

“The science is not settled regarding climate change, temperature records have been falsified, and the assumptions used in computer models have large degrees of error.” “” Tom Mullins

The comparatively mild warming of the last few decades has already measurably disrupted the fragile frontier. In southwestern New Mexico, extreme storms have doubled in frequency. Tens of millions of trees have already died from an explosion of bark beetles in the now water-starved state. Global warming could spell doom for New Mexico’s $1.7 billion agricultural sector. New Mexico “” now tied to coal and oil “” could be a renewable energy powerhouse in a green economy “” but not if these candidates have their way.


Susana MartinezSusana Martinez, the Sarah Palin-endorsed nominee for New Mexico governor, questions the overwhelming scientific consensus that burning fossil fuels is warming the planet. “I’m not sure the science completely supports that,” she recently told Politico. Responding to the New Mexico Independent, she revealed that she thinks the science of climate change is an “ideological debate“:

While there is disagreement in the science community concerning the causes of global warming, there is little disagreement concerning our responsibility to take care of the environment while creating jobs in New Mexico. Politicians engaging in an ideological debate over the causes of global warming does nothing to protect the environment, or create jobs. As governor, I will support balanced and evidenced-based environmental protections.


Jon BarelaJon Barela “” endorsed by Dick Armey’s climate denial FreedomWorks PAC uses Newt Gingrich’s talking points to deride the free-market cap-and-trade system once promoted by Republicans as a “job-killing” “energy tax.” In an August 3, 2010 show with right-wing talk radio host Jim Villanucci, Barela agreed with a caller that manmade global warming is a dangerous hoax, based on the “Climategate” smear campaign:

I, like most people, were rather appalled by the East Anglia University report which came out several months ago, which I guess, at best is academic fraud and at worst a deliberate attempt to manipulate facts regarding global warming. And I don’t mean to be flippant about this, but only God knows where our climate is going. If you look at the recent snowfall in the East Coast and certainly our winter, you have the ebbs and flows of climate change, and that’s just simply how how things have worked for the millennia, and for the eons.

Listen here:

For over a decade, Barela was a top corporate lobbyist for Intel, which supports the international scientific consensus “that climate change is a serious economic, social and environmental challenge” caused by greenhouse gas pollution. Now that he’s a right-wing politician, he’s repeating denier talking points about snowstorms.


Steve PearceFormer representative Steve Pearce, attempting to take the second Congressional district back from Democrat Harry Teague, believes in the Climategate conspiracy theory, calling global warming “crap“:

I think we ought to take a look at whatever the group is that measures all this, the IPCC, they don’t even believe the crap. They’re the ones who say in the e-mails we’ve got to worry about this, keep these voices quiet. If they don’t believe it, why should the rest of be penalized in our standard of living for something that can’t be validated?

Pearce told the New Mexico Independent that “there is a lot of conflicting data on the nature and impact of carbon output.” Like Barela, Pearce says that the “job killing cap and trade bill” will “serve to destroy jobs and cripple our economy.”


Tom MullinsTom Mullins, the Republican candidate for New Mexico’s third congressional district, is a global warming conspiracy theorist, believing the world’s scientists have colluded to construct a false reality. A petroleum engineer, Mullins told the New Mexico Independent that climate science is a plot constructed by politicians who “want greater power and control of our daily lives,” including “the breath we exhale”:

Carbon is organic and carbon is the basis of all life. Our federal government is attempting to regulate not just the breath we exhale, but is also infringing upon our very livelihood. Affordable energy is a critical component of New Mexico’s economic development. The residence of CO2 in the troposphere is about 5 years, rather than the 50 to 200 years assumed by many regulators. The science is not settled regarding climate change, temperature records have been falsified, and the assumptions used in computer models have large degrees of error. I believe that politicians who advocate climate change taxes and regulations, merely want greater power and control of our daily lives. As a professional engineer, I will be a voice of scientific reason on this very emotional subject.

The residence time of carbon dioxide is a popular climate denier canard.

Transcript of 8/3/10 Jim Villanucci show with Jon Barela:

CALLER: Obviously, we see the weather around us, and there are still people with the mental instability that believe in global warming, ha ha. And they’re just not getting it with all the e-mails from Liar University in England and uh some of the other things. I gave something to Jim Villanucci, it was just a little clip from Joe Bastardi of the The question I have for you: Republicans have not immersed themselves in information that is factually or truthfully correct so that they can argue it and defend it. Are you willing to do that for us so that when we send you there, you won’t be a watered-down version of a Republican or conservatism, you’re going to be there be putting your finger in their chest and telling them what needs to happen?

BARELA: Well, thank you, Jim, for the question. I intend to be a fighter for philosophy, and my philosophy is one conservatism, so, so absolutely. Let me be more specific to answer your question. I, like uh heh heh most people, were rather appalled by the East Anglia University uh uh report, which uh came out several months ago, which uh I guess Jim at heh heh heh at best is academic fraud and at worst a deliberate attempt to to ummm manipulate facts regarding uh global warming. And I don’t mean to be flippant about this, but only God knows where our climate is going. And and uh uh, if you look at the recent snowfall in the East Coast and certainly our winter, you know, you have the ebbs and flows of of uh of uh climate uh change, and that’s just simply how how things have worked for the millennia, and for the eons.

VILLANUCCI: I’ve always thought the sun has a lot to do with it too.

BARELA: Yeah, the sun, the clouds, heh heh heh. You know, it all points however to what I call a rule of common sense. Not only when it comes to governing our lives, how we conduct our lives, but how we also legislate. We need to use common sense when we talk about this global warming uh issue. And we as as uh um conservatives, we as uh those of us who are talking about how best we move this country forward, need to have that rule of common sense. And as Jim says, we need to immerse ourselves in the facts, learn about the facts, and and speak our mind accordingly.

— Brad Johnson.  This is cross-posted at the Wonk Room.

34 Responses to New Mexico GOP candidates deny global warming reality

  1. Leif says:

    Gosh, we have 95%+ of the world’s climatologists in a conspiracy and now have sucked in the Pope,,
    and the top military brass into the deception. Just when does this become reality in these folks eyes?

  2. Dave E says:

    “And as Jim says, we need to immerse ourselves in the facts, learn about the facts, and and speak our mind accordingly”–hope they do, although little evidence of learning the facts yet.

  3. Andy says:

    My opinion is that this issue is an analogue to the Nixon’s Southern Strategy. Eventually the republicans will abandon this backwards climate view, but like with their endorsed rascism in the south, they may win life long converts. One would think this would be a can’t lose sort of strategy, but I detect a subtle difference.

    Folks like JR are making sure the idiotic words and views of these republican candidates and their right wing media mouth pieces are well known and recorded for posterity. It’s like having someone snapping photos and recording interviews of the late Strom Thurmond at a KKK rally.

  4. Peter Mizla says:

    In the end- the denial of most republican candidates this election year will come back to haunt them politically FOR a long long time.

  5. NMIluminati says:

    These guys obviously have not been fighting New Mexico wildfires for the last ten years or they would have a different opinion.

  6. Sasparilla says:

    Great article…unfortunately for the rest of us (but not for the Koch brothers who have actively worked and give money to make sure this reality has come into being), this stance on global warming appears to have become a litmus test to “get in the door” of Republican politics (10 years ago you could still think something should be done about global warming and be a Republican…no more.).

    Ideology trumps reality on yet another issue.

  7. I visited Gulfport today and found the rising tide beginning to violate the sea wall, cover the beach and invade a parking lot. If there is any doubt whatsoever about the reality of global warmong people ought to visit the coastline and observe the changes.

    This world is changing so fast that I doubt that there will be any serious deniers within five years. The deniers will hide away in obscurity with the creationists and the flat earthers.

    Though with the economy collapsing at its present pace it is altogther possible that the next five to ten years will be consumed by an economic depression. With all the global instability which will result it is quite possible that nations will collapse (as Pakistan threatens to collapse under the strain) and civilization itself will dance on the edge of the abyss poised to fail at any moment.

    Humankind cannot afford to make any mistakes from here on out. Too bad humankind cannot avoid making mistakes.

  8. peter whitehead says:

    America is heading into an abyss of lunacy, led by the Gaderene swine of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. I wonder if the Union will survive this, as some States slip backwards in time to a fantasy past.

    Don’t just laugh at these people – Charlie Chaplin laughed at Hitler in ‘The great dictator’, but Hitler was no joke. These extremists you are suffering from are Tea Party Taliban; they have more in common with the Iranian President than with the Founding Fathers. They are dangerous – and will become very violent as they gain influence.

    Remember Robert Heinlein’s novel, ‘If this goes on’. Written in 1940, it tells of the election of a backwoods preacher to the Presidency, who brings in a religious dictatorship in America. His election is the last election. And Heinlein’s choice of electionyear for this story? 2012.

  9. Erik S.G. says:

    Pearce is trying to take back his old seat in CD2 from Teague (D), not Heinrich. Heinrich (D) is the incumbent in CD1, with Barela trying to beat him.

    And if you want to follow New Mexico politics, here’s a good link:

    -Erik S.G.

  10. Mike Roddy says:

    It’s an open question whether Republican politicians will be punished for opposing climate change legislation, and for their open whoring for the oil companies. They were proved wrong for banging the drums on Vietnam, Iraq, and racism, too, and somehow overcame it.

    It has to do with pushing the same soundbites that have been fed to them by focus group PR researchers who are employed by RNC, which is to say, they are employed by the oil companies. Besides all of the phony patriotism and individualism- what could be less individual than parroting talking points from Republican HQ?- the attack on scientists is an old tactic.

    The Nazis burned books, and shot scientists and professors in Poland, just as Pol Pot did in Cambodia, so it’s not exactly a right wing thing. Spiro Agnew, Nixon’s veep, railed about “pointy headed intellectuals”. Now, we see whole websites such as Wattsupwiththat whose mission is to promote the obvious fantasy that their own collection of charlatans knows more about climate than scientists do.

    Americans are lied to by oil company funded media, but it’s made possible by this grave weakness in cognition, more common here in the US than anywere I’ve seen. We could study and understand it better, but I don’t know that we survive it.

  11. Paulm says:

    Jesus, this is so depressing.

  12. Peter Mizla says:

    Mike Roddy #10

    what climate change could begin to do by 2029 will make Vietnam, Iraq, and racism, seem like a picnic in the park.

    Those events helped define the 20th century as did the depression, & the two world wars-

    Economically – the GOP ‘fantasy of ‘the business of America is business’ (Coolidge circa 1925) And Hoovers 1931 ‘Social Programs like ‘Social Security’ and unemployment insurance not work in America’ did sink the republican party a long time.

    What havoc and chaos (socially and economically) climate change may cause in the the near future is an unknown- but from climate models I have seen for the USA- it seems like folly for any politician to continue to ignore.

    2029 will be the 100th anniversary of the start of the great depression- if we wait another 19 years without doing nothing about greenhouse emissions (now likely) that 380 ppmv from 2001 will be sustained- and not in the pipeline like it is today. and the 430ppmv CO2 in 2029 will look like a 100 foot tsunami waiting in the harbor.

  13. Mike Roddy says:


    Yeah, you could be right about the GOP getting punished eventually and maybe even soon, and I certainly hope so.

    The problem is that their focus is short term. If Koch is allowed to pipe in tar sands oil and Massey keeps blowing up mountains for another decade, it’s mission accomplished for all of them, including their Congressmen. The Republicans who got elected for lying like hell will have gotten on the DC gravy train, and probably landed jobs as lobbyists or “think tank” intellectuals. That means money. And for them, what else is there? Ending up getting shamed doesn’t disturb them a bit. A lot of them don’t believe the denier bullshit, even in the Republican Party, but if they get rich, the joke’s on us as far as they’re concerned.

  14. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    Why don’t you just admit it, Koch industries runs the USA. The GOP has been brought and paid for, the Democrats quietly aquiess.

    Government of the people, by Koch for Koch

  15. John Kearns says:

    If dams, buildings, and airports can be named for Republicans, why not the deserts soon to emerge? Dumbcluckistan and the like are just too general.

  16. Theodore says:

    According to these polls 68% of Republicans don’t believe in evolution. If you are waiting for them to come around on any science-related issue, you may be waiting for a very long time. “On the Origin of Species” was first published in 1859.

  17. Deborah Stark says:

    Document, document, document.

  18. Jim Groom says:

    You can’t fix stupid. However, you can try and try to educate the public at large. Until the public begins to understand just how they are being used the Koch’s of the world will continue to push the media and the political leaders, they pay for, in the direction they wish.

  19. At first we thought it was a scientific debate, then it became a political debate. Now many think it is an economic issue. But now we discover it is totally an existentialist question. Sorry kids.

  20. Colorado Bob says:

    Politics and Knowledge: What to Do ? (1)

    A few months ago a Republican candidate for State Office came to my office to talk about climate change. At the end of the hour he asked me how I thought we could advance beyond the current political state which is publicly characterized by, my word, tribalism – do you or do you not “believe” in climate change? Since I had recently posted an article on the subject (here), I had some semblance of an answer queued up. At one level the answer is “time,” but I will get back to that.

  21. Colorado Bob says:

    200-Fold Boost in Fuel Cell Efficiency Advances ‘Personalized Energy Systems’

    “Our goal is to make each home its own power station,” said study leader Daniel Nocera, Ph.D. “We’re working toward development of ‘personalized’ energy units that can be manufactured, distributed and installed inexpensively. There certainly are major obstacles to be overcome — existing fuel cells and solar cells must be improved, for instance. Nevertheless, one can envision villages in India and Africa not long from now purchasing an affordable basic system.”

  22. Colorado Bob says:

    I have been following Dr. Nocera’s, announcements for a couple of years , this is really good news. His work will make it possible to truly decentralize power production, at much lower costs.

    It is a real threat to every coal mine in the world.

  23. Colorado Bob says:

    Now, if we can just see news of that solar paint , I’ve waited 35 years on.

  24. Mike#22 says:

    Colorado Bob,

    Nocera’s electrode is only mildly interesting. The BOS for his “personalized energy system” is stuff that has been around for decades.


  25. Colorado Bob says:

    More than 12 million homeowners would be in line to save up to £1,000 a year, should they install solar panels, says British Gas.

    The utility firm is the latest in a host of companies offering to install electricity-generating systems on homes to take advantage of a government scheme that pays the owners of solar panels for the ‘renewable’ electricity they generate.

  26. Colorado Bob says:

    Mike –

    Nocera and his colleagues started out with the water-splitting side of the equation. They found a more efficient way to convert H2O into hydrogen and oxygen, using relatively inexpensive catalysts that contain cobalt and nickel. And it doesn’t need to be pure H2O. “Owing to the self-healing properties of the catalysts, these electrolyzers can use any water source,” including seawater, waste water or water from the Charles River in Boston, the researchers say.

    They contend that their system eliminates the need for expensive platinum catalysts — which would make the economics of fuel cells much more attractive. Prototype water-splitting systems have been built at a cost of $30 each, operating at power levels of 100 watts. The ACS news release says the catalytic system has been licensed to Sun Catalytix, an MIT commercial spin-off, and the venture aims to make super-efficient electrolyzers available for homes and small businesses within two years.

  27. Prokaryotes says:

    The guy’s look in the first image resembles “Oh, no clowns and they talk trash too!”

    You cannot win against CC with denial.
    You cannot control CC, while in denial and pumping more energy into the system.

    CC is a threat multiplier for national security – the survival of the species is at stake.

  28. Prokaryotes says:

    Fun Fact: Imagine all above images had a big red clowns nose.

  29. Prokaryotes says:

    Joe you might want to update the proceedings of Nocera’s science.

  30. Mike#22 says:

    Colorado Bob,

    I am familiar with Nocera’s work. The electrode is interesting, but represents only a slight efficiency gain over commercial electrolyzers. The rest is all hydrogen hype.


  31. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Bob at 20 –

    Politics and Knowledge – what to do ?

    Your article has interesting insights into the dynamics of the circus of denial – most particularly the fact of progressives’ engagement tending to feed that circus by generating fresh fantasies among independents and republicans. Hypotheses are after all an infinite resource, and bad news from the opposing tribe must be discredited, however absurd the means.

    The dynamic that doesn’t get much discussion is the central function of the circus in sucking in progressives’ time, moral, resources and intelligence to that futile seductive tribalism. The opportunity cost is of that same effort not being applied to resolving the core of the US inaction domestically and internationally, which is imposed by the inherited policy of climate brinkmanship –

    (As this analysis of the latter’s potent obstruction has won multiple strong endorsements here on CP and no attempts at a rebuttal, [see #7 at: ] – I have some confidence of its accuracy while I remain open to its discussion).

    I think we’d agree that a step change is required to strip the tent of parochialism from enclosing the circus, thereby exposing public opinion to wider and newly obvious perspectives affirming its experience of rising extreme weather events. Yet as long as the Whitehouse clings to the inherited policy of a brinkmanship of inaction, it is unable to provide that step change as the policy precludes any and all significant domestic action, including:
    its ruthless exposure of the deniers’ corrupt funding;
    its necessary launch of effective public education on climate;
    its proper defence of climate scientists’ integrity from vicious political attack;
    and its seminal declaration of climate destabilization as “A real and present danger to the security of the nation”.

    Getting that policy reviewed is thus the primary requirement for the step change to be achieved. Undermining its rational by promoting awareness of the carbon recovery option for addressing the diplomatically problematic US historic emissions will be a necessary advance, but one probably not sufficient for the task.

    The beginnings of an exposure of the policy and of its disabling effects to public view is something that the Whitehouse could not afford to ignore – the sheer reckless immorality of playing poker with the global climate would rouse untenable public revulsion – the policy’s review would be inevitable.

    For progressives to concentrate on exposing the policy to the public is very necessary in my view, but, in being tribally identifiable, this will be slower in effect than we’d wish. The best messenger for this exposure, whom we should strive to activate, will be those with impeccable senior republican credentials, preferably with non-political careers behind them. Lugar and Woolsey come to mind, but, by merely splitting GOP opinion, their intervention would still be less than optimum: Koch et al appear to have already bought GOP party policy.

    Given that the US military have a special credence in right-wing mythology, and that they began providing cogent climate warnings at least as far back as 2007 under Bush, a retired very senior military figure with staunch republican credentials appears the ideal messenger, if such a person could be found.

    So, in seeking an exemplary messenger, I wonder if you happen to know, or could find out, just where Colin Powell stands on the issue of US climate policy ?

    His calm and unfettered intervention in calling for the review of the out-dated, imprudent and increasingly unethical US policy of a brinkmanship of inaction, and his deliberate affirmation of the military’s long understanding of the scientific reality, would be perhaps uniquely swift in taking effect.

    Any news on Powell and other such potential messengers would thus be very welcome.



  32. Esop says:

    This truly is The Age Of Stupid

  33. Greengo says:

    Marina Silva, who runs for president in Brazil’s upcoming elections, has started her TV campaign with a clip ( calling for action to contain global warming. The two leading contenders (Marina Silva ranks third in the polls) hardly broach the issue, but at least they do not deny the reality of climate change.