Millionaire businessman John Raese, running as the GOP Senate nominee to fill Robert Byrd’s West Virginia seat, wants to take the state back to the 19th century. Not only does he want to return capitalism to the era before child labor laws, Social Security, and civil rights laws, he also promotes a pre-industrial vision of science. In an interview with Real Clear Politics, Raese said he has “zero” trust that “human activity is contributing to climate change”:
The oceans that surround the world produce 185 billion tons of CO2 per annum. Man per annum only produces six billion tons, so what could possibly be the concern? One volcano puts out more toxic gases-one volcano-than man makes in a whole year. And when you look at this “climate change,” and when you look at the regular climate change that we all have in the world, we have warm and we have cooling spells.
Although Raese is well versed in conspiracy-theory talking points, they’re as nonsensical as his desire to abolish the Departments of Energy and Education. Human activity puts about 29 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, well over 100 times as much as all the volcanoes in the world. The oceans actually vent about 332 billion tons of CO2 per year, but also absorb that much. Human emissions have disrupted the balance of the carbon cycle, leading to rising concentrations of greenhouse pollution in the atmosphere. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by 40 percent, and global temperatures are on an inexorable rise, overwhelming any natural cycles.
Far from protecting West Virginia’s coal industry, Raese’s desire to abolish the Department of Energy, kill the Recovery Act, and deny global warming would end federal policy to support advanced coal technology, the only hope for this 19th-century fuel in the 21st century.