At a debate in Pennsylvania’s 12th district to fill the seat left by Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA), Republican candidate Tim Burns denied the existence of global warming. “I don’t believe in manmade global warming,” Burns told the audience last Friday, as ThinkProgress captured in this exclusive footage. Burns also seemed not to understand that cap-and-trade plans include tariffs on countries that don’t limit
carbon emissions, nor that both China and India have established aggressive climate plans — including cap and trade programs — to limit their own carbon pollution:
First of all, I don’t believe in manmade global warming. And if I did, cap-and-trade would not be an appropriate way to address it. Cap-and-trade will do a couple of things. It will increase artificially the energy costs here in the United States, but it will not increase the costs anywhere else in the world. So, if we would believe, which I don’t, that man is causing global warming with increased carbon, all that would do is ship the carbon production from here to China and India where they don’t have cap-and-trade imposed on them.
Burns could have learned about the reality of climate change by consulting the National Academies of Science — which said “the U.S. should act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions” — or by simply asking his own constituents, such as the climate scientists at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, in the 12th District.
“I find it interesting that politicians continue to ignore the science,” Dr. Steve Hovan, chair of the Geoscience Department at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, told the Wonk Room in an phone interview. “My professional opinion is that it’s real and that it’s something to be concerned about.”
Hovan was sympathetic to the challenge politicans and average citizens have in understanding the scope and urgency of the threat of global warming pollution, especially as climates scientists usually just focus on the long term picture and don’t try to tackle the economic or political implications of the problem. However, before he ran off to teach his next class, Hovan concluded that he believes policymakers should tackle global warming pollution now, not later:
It’s a big enough problem that if we don’t start now, we may not get a handle on it. I think the Academies of Science is right that we need to get a grip on this now before it becomes ungrippable.