Meet Paul Ryan: Climate Denier, Conspiracy Theorist, Koch Acolyte

By Brad Johnson, campaign manager for Forecast the Facts

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential pick, is a virulent denier of climate science, with a voting record to match.

A favorite of the Koch brothers, Ryan has accused scientists of engaging in conspiracy to “intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.” He has implied that snow invalidates global warming.

Ryan has voted to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from limiting greenhouse pollution, to eliminate White House climate advisers, to block the U.S. Department of Agriculture from preparing for climate disasters like the drought devastating his home state, and to eliminate the Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E):

Paul Ryan Promoted Unfounded Conspiracy Theories About Climate Scientists. In a December 2009 op-ed during international climate talks, Ryan made reference to the hacked University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit emails. He accused climatologists of a “perversion of the scientific method, where data were manipulated to support a predetermined conclusion,” in order to “intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.” Because of spurious claims of conspiracy like these, several governmental and academic inquiries were launched, all of which found the accusations to be without merit. [Paul Ryan, 12/11/09]

Paul Ryan Argued Snow Invalidates Global Warming Policy. In the same anti-science, anti-scientist December 2009 op-ed, Ryan argued, “Unilateral economic restraint in the name of fighting global warming has been a tough sell in our communities, where much of the state is buried under snow.” Ryan’s line is especially disingenuous because he hasn’t been trying to sell climate action, he’s been spreading disinformation.  [Paul Ryan, 12/11/09]

Paul Ryan Voted To Eliminate EPA Limits On Greenhouse Pollution. Ryan voted in favor of H.R. 910, introduced in 2011 by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas pollution. [Roll Call 249, 4/7/11]

Paul Ryan Voted To Block The USDA From Preparing For Climate Change. In 2011, Ryan voted in favor of the Scalise (R-LA) Amendment to the FY12 Agriculture Appropriations bill, to bar the U.S. Department of Agriculture from implementing its Climate Protection Plan. [Roll Call 448, 6/16/11]

Paul Ryan Voted To Eliminate White House Climate Advisers. Ryan voted in favor of Scalise (R-LA) Amendment 204 to the 2011 Continuing Resolution, to eliminate the assistant to the president for energy and climate change, the special envoy for climate change (Todd Stern), and the special adviser for green jobs, enterprise and innovation. [Roll Call 87, 2/17/11]

Paul Ryan Voted To Eliminate ARPA-E. Ryan voted in favor of Biggert (R-IL) Amendment 192 to the 2011 Continuing Resolution, to eliminate the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E). [Roll Call 55, 2/17/11]

Paul Ryan Voted To Eliminate Light Bulb Efficiency Standards. In 2011, Ryan voted to roll back light-bulb efficiency standards that had reinvigorated the domestic lighting industry and that significantly reduce energy waste and carbon pollution. [Roll Call 563, 7/12/11]

Paul Ryan Voted For Keystone XL. In 2011, Ryan voted to expedite the consideration and approval of the construction and operation of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. [Roll Call 650, 7/26/11]

Paul Ryan Budget Kept Big Oil Subsidies And Slashed Clean Energy Investment. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed FY 2013 budget resolution retained a decade’s worth of oil tax breaks worth $40 billion, while slashing funding for investments in clean energy research, development, deployment, and commercialization, along with other energy programs. The plan called for a $3 billion cut in energy programs in FY 2013 alone. [CAP, 3/20/12]

In short, Paul Ryan stands with Big Oil against scientific fact and the future of human civilization.

This piece has been updated.

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67 Responses to Meet Paul Ryan: Climate Denier, Conspiracy Theorist, Koch Acolyte

  1. prokaryotes says:

    Such people are a threat to national security, because they threaten the survival of the state, they provoke food riots and anarchy with their manipulative actions.

    We need to put these people on trial for crimes against humanity.

  2. John McCormick says:

    The clown car is on the road again.

  3. Ozonator says:

    If you love Hg in the fish of Wisconsin, you will love GOP’s toxic fracking chemicals in the drinking water of the rest of the Union. I agree with trials for crimes against humanity. I don’t think it would upset him being in prison and getting a chance to body build with Joe Bastardi.

  4. Buckminster Fuller is rolling in space on this one.

  5. Aaron Lewis says:

    How do people like Rommeny and Ryan ever get elected to any office without understanding anything about sience?

    It tells me that we have lost the concept of a teaching everyone a little science.

    These folks not only do not understand science, but they do not respect the folks that do.

    Rommey and Ryan would be nowhere without the folks who do understand how their cell phones work (and how the climate works.)

    Maybe the folks that understand science should unionize and not sell cell phones to folks that do not accept physics.

  6. Dick Smith says:

    Last month, 6 Wisconsinites met with him in his Washington office to discuss climate change. Most of the meeting was with an aide. However, when he briefly stopped in to greet us, he was asked what he “really thought about global warming.” He quickly responded, “Well, the science is not in.” When asked whether he meant the science that says the earth is warming or the science that says it’s caused by humans, he responded, “both…but mostly the latter.”

  7. Erica says:

    Here’s what climate change is doing to Ryan’s home state:

  8. Aaron Lewis says:

    Every election has it’s “October Suprise”. This year, a good possibility is that the corn growing regions of South America do not get their Santa Rosa (August/Sept.) rains required for seed germination, and thus the South American corn crop will be small and the world’s price for corn will go very high.

    Aother year of drought in agricultural regions, will finally make global warming, here and now for everyone.

  9. Ken Barrows says:

    No, you all have it wrong. Ryan will cut taxes for the wealthy, who will invest in the technologies that will make climate change a thing of the past. And buy equities that will pump the stock market and distribute the wealth to everyone. And this porridge is just right! /sarc

  10. Mike Roddy says:

    This smells like a quid pro quo for Koch money, and a way to bring out the Tea Partiers in November. Let’s hope the American people wake up.

  11. Dawn says:

    Not only is he a threat to national security regarding his energy views, his budget also cuts the funding for the agency that works to keep loose nuke material out of the hands of bad guys through mission immpossible type tactics in the dead of night in other countries.

  12. SecularAnimist says:

    So the election comes down to a choice between the Obama administration, whose actions and policies so far are wholly inadequate to prevent catastrophic global warming, and Romney/Ryan, whose policies would not only abandon any efforts towards mitigation OR adaptation, but would aggressively make the problem worse.

  13. Leif says:

    A question from the Net-World. How many years of tax returns did Paul have to show R-money?

  14. Larry Linn says:

    Paul Ryan=Wall Street!
    No thank you!

  15. D.Gar says:

    What BS !!!! Wake Up America !!!

  16. georgieboy says:

    Good choice Mr. Romney. Ryan will work well with you. You will destroy those people who are still of working age by shipping their jobs overseas, and he will destroy the older ones by ending medicare. Perfect match.

  17. VBobier says:

    Not to mention the Paul Ryan has wanted to cut Supplemental Security Income by between 26% and 33% from what I’ve read, not once, but twice in the failed 2012 House Budget and in the failed 2013 House Budget, He wanted to also cap SSI and make SSI into block grants that could be used by the states as they saw fit to do, SSI would be no more as States would have to administer SSI if they aren’t now and some states just don’t have the extra money to do so right now…

    Vote only for Democrats and Obama/Biden on November 6th 2012…

  18. Michael says:

    They understand science just fine. They have been fully purchased by the Koch brothers, whose main goal in life is to pollute for free. That is all there is to it.

  19. Anne says:

    Best comment so far: Romney-Ryan (RR) ticket is the Rolls-Royce ticket. This one is catchy and will go viral, my prediction.

  20. Tim says:

    In choosing Ryan, Romney has doubled down on government of the wealthy, by the wealthy, for the wealthy.

  21. Ralph Novy says:

    “Koch ACOLYTE”?


    How about “stooge” or “shill” or “henchman”?

  22. Ralph Novy says:


    And so we can also expect a “doubling down” on the doublespeak of his campaign. It’s hard to believe he could get any more dishonest … but brace yourself.

  23. Ralph Novy says:

    I think so too — on both counts.

    But for the American electorate to “wake up,” they’re going to need to get hit in the face, over and over, with the stark implications of a Romney/Ryan administration. I hope the Obama camp’s up to it. There are encouraging signs, but ….

  24. chris moffatt says:

    Maybe if the US electorate would give President Obama a working majority in congress something could get done. As it is the republicans can block everything while pointing at Obama and saying how ineffective he is. Blame the american voter not Obama.

  25. But only the short-term wealthy. No matter how much wealth our grandchildren have, it cannot buy a cooler climate. That requires an investment now, for a payoff 50 or 100 years from now.

    That is what R&R fail to understand. It is a dangerous time because so many voters want wealth now, that they are deluded into supporting them

  26. Paul Magnus says:

    The effective way to get the show on the road is the way that Mann and Hansen have been approaching this issue.

    Someone has to stand tall, loud and clear. And oppose the missinformation from a credible base. Not be intimidated by the thugs and greedy, aggressive capitalists.

    People dont take cues from passive quite messaging. Leaders dont either. Scientists had to / have to stand tall, loud and progressive.

    The time should have been 20yrs previous but what the heck. Lest keep moving forward.

  27. Mike Roddy says:

    Here’s my effort from a while back:

    These men are criminals, and should stand trial. This includes people like Boyce, Koch, and Murdoch.

  28. Mike Roddy says:

    Yes, but the American voter has been manipulated by the media. They do not receive quality information.

  29. Len Conly says:

    Since when have presidential candidates been allowed to stage campaign events on U.S. naval vessels?

  30. Theresa says:

    Time to wake up, Goldielocks! You must still be sleeping!!!

  31. Theresa says:

    You’re right on both accounts, especially the latter!

  32. question says:

    I think we can officially end the “There isn’t any difference between Obama and Romney in terms of climate” meme. The choice of Ryan makes it blindly obvious that not only does Romney not care about our children, but he and his rich cronies plan to profit off their misery.

  33. scarecities says:

    Ryan sounds like a young earther too
    I wonder if he can do raindances that work?

  34. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Given that Romney is a flip flopper, there was always a chance that he could flop back to his original moderate position, but now he’s locked himself into extremism. That seems to be a strange choice given that all campaigns need a degree of flexibility to cope with contingencies, ME

  35. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Don’t knock the rain dance! We all danced for rain to break the 12 year drought on the E coast and we got enough to destroy an area the size of France and Germany combined, plus a bit, ME

  36. Leif says:

    They are coping ME. If they don’t tow the line of ecocide fossil et. al., their funding will be cut and they will be out on the street facing a angry electorate. They have painted themselves into a corner, and humanity to the door step of doom.

  37. Jamie Ross says:

    Blame them both. Obama’s lack of public leadership and narrative make it too easy for RW propagandists to fool voters. And also blame the idiotic system that leaves most Congressional races non-competitive, and makes it so that a party has to win the presidency and two houses, one by a 60-40 margin, in order to have even a chance of enacting an agenda.

    Lots of blame to go around!

  38. area51 says:

    A Koch dog? That makes PERFECT sense!

  39. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Leif, I am sure they will be fine financially but they have painted themselves into a corner strategically as well as in their economic policies. What about the centrist voters as attitudes towards climate change continue to evolve towards reality? Droughts can bring unpredictable, sudden major disasters and all campaigns can take unpredictable turns – R & R look unprepared for this risk, ME

  40. Lionel A says:

    Excellent piece Mike, needs to be pushed again. Few realise the true role of Buffet and Gates. I guess Svalbard could be nice with an ice free Arctic, maybe not. I agree on the Gates comeuppance of working in an African health care facility but that should be only the first year.

  41. Aussie John says:

    What planet is this arrogant myopic fellow living on? He’s certainly not on this one.

    The US is in dire need of a national independent public owned TV and radio broadcaster to factually inform its citizens and break this evil abuse of the democratic process.
    The British BBC and Australian ABC are working models of what Obama needs to emulate in the US if your citizens are to be freed from outrageous dishonest corporate propaganda. Though the BBC and ABC are not perfect media, at least they are independent of business interests; and citizens can challenge and correct bias or misinformation.

  42. Lionel A says:

    No the BBC is not perfect as media and somebody should try and get the true picture of Ryan through to Mark Mardell the BBC’s North America editor.

    Note the links below the ‘More on This Story’ line.

  43. David Lewis says:

    The New Yorker has an article on Ryan in the August 6 issue.

    The author of the article, the magazine’s Washington correspondent Ryan Lizza, thought it unlikely Romney would choose Ryan for his V.P. However, Lizza writes:

    “To envision what Republicans would do if they win in November, the person to understand is not necessarily Romney, who has been a policy cypher all his public life. The person to understand is Ryan.”

    “Republicans are divided between those who think they can win by pointing out Obama’s failures and those who want to run on a Ryan-like platform”.

    Lizza quotes “conservative opinion-writer” Charles Krauthammer who wrote about the peril for Republicans if they actually tell the country what they intend to do: “Ryan has just released a recklessly bold 73 page 10 year budget plan. At 37 footnotes, it might be the most annotated suicide note in history”.

    Back when Bush was still a popular President, Ryan was certain that Republicans could finally get away with ending Social Security as we know it. Lizza writes: “Ryan’s assurances proved to be wildly optimistic”

    “Other factors contributed to Bush’s failures in 2005 and 2006 – Hurricane Katrina, escalating violence in Iraq – but his push for a version of the Ryan Social Security plan marked the start of the decline. Bush, in his memoir, writes that he regretted pursuing the issue when he did”.

    Ryan has succeeded in persuading many Republicans that the fact that he persuaded Bush to shoot himself in the head means nothing now.

    “Ryan seemed unconcerned that pushing his policy agenda on Romney might damage the candidate”.

    Lizza unearthed some entertaining facts about Ryan:

    “At the end of his senior year [of high school] he was elected Biggest Brown-Noser”

    “like many conservatives, he claims to have been profoundly affected by Ayn Rand”.

    There is a New Yorker podcast available where Lizza makes a few other tidbits available. Ryan paid for his own university education with government money that came to him after his father died. The foundation of his father’s business was building the publicly funded interstate highway system.

    Lizza quotes Ryan: “Only by taking responsibility for oneself, to the greatest extent possible, can one ever be free, and only a free person can make responsible choices…”.

    Obviously, that’s where killing the planet comes in.

    Only free people can do things as criminally irresponsible as that. Responsibility for the wastes “oneself” puts out needs to be palmed off on everyone else, like one’s own descendants and all life on Earth for the next tens of thousands of years.

  44. shane seckler says:

    When the climate fails, (as it is going to), do all these rich people really think their money is going to protect them?
    The poor people will literally tear them apart, and take everything they own.
    Instead of denying, they should be FIXING the problem; money is useless when the majority has nothing.

  45. PJMD says:

    Gee, there’s a pretty tall guy living in the White House who could easily stand up to these throwbacks and while doing so ensure his re-election. Where the hell is he?

  46. MJ says:

    The battleship, Wisconsin, is now a museum..

  47. Terry Solie says:

    Very good question!

  48. Gillian King says:

    Yes, it’s time for loud messaging. Bill Clinton referred to messengers with visible tattoos – blokes with hard hats and big boots. Do we need to add another ‘voice’ to climate messaging? A macho voice?

    Anyone for a climate haka?

  49. Gillian King says:

    Checks and balances = stalemate.

  50. colin mckenna says:

    You are missing the fact that Obama DID have a supermajority in Congress for two years. He could have passed any bills he wanted to (including a budget). A good way to evaluate what he really believes and what is really important to him is to look at what legislation he supported in those two years.

    So why do you think giving him a majority in Congress once again will have different results the second time around?

  51. horse dave says:

    He did not have a super majority in the Senate so the Republicans could filibuster most bills. There are some bills which cannot be filibustered. This is why Harry Reid laments that they should have changed the Senate Rules.
    Also with the blue-dogs in the House the cooperating majority was actually very thin.

  52. EDpeak says:

    “A good way to evaluate what he really believes and what is really important to him is to look at what legislation he supported in those two years.”

    It proved not what Obama “really believes” but rather what someone ELSE believes: what the “blue dog” (read: the farthest right-wing end of the Democratic party) folks believe. Get your fellow Americans who have blue-dog reps to wake up and pressure their blue dogs to stop being so right wing, and do the same with Republican-voting neighbors..until we change that, these folks will return to congress and Senate to slow down or prevent sane steps, and to make worse steps to solidify the proto-fascist Corporatocratic state

  53. Starley says:

    Good thing we have the 8th largest corn crop in history this year. Unless we turn it to fuel.

  54. Terry says:

    I worked for the Michigan Romney/Milliken administration as environmental advisor. Romney and Milliken were among the most progressive of state leaders during the environmental “awakening” during the late 60’s and early 70’s. Mitt did inherit the environmental protection gene from dad, but apparently it mutated. And I suspect, as a result of the Michigan Enbridge oil pipeline (dilbit) breach while he was campaigning nearby, mutated once again far to the denialist right (Ryan selection). And as a UW graduate that studied both meteorology and human ecology I can attest to the fact that cheese, Millers, and brats did not cause me become a Koch acolyte. Ryan would do well to talk to the climatologists and others at the Nelson Institute at UW to gain some valuable insights into the real drivers of climate change. Richard Muller at Berkeley,with Koch financial support, even figured it out. This Republican will again support President Obama in November.

  55. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    What about the Greens?

  56. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The proposition that the ABC and BBC are in any way different from the rest of the Rightwing MSM is deluded, to say the least.

  57. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Of course it is plainly mad to tell the truth about your platform. Smart Rightwingers, like Cameron in the UK, lie through their teeth with complete fictions like being ‘the Greenest Government ever’. Here in Australia the Right has cynically lied before elections for years, pioneered by John Howard who invented the category ‘non-core promises’ for his lies.

  58. Tony says:

    For some important and useful background on biological and psychological differences (really!) between conservatives and liberals, read Chris Mooney’s “The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science – and Reality.” And if you really want to feel depressed, then angry, then motivated to change things, read Charles Ferguson’s “Predator Nation.”

  59. Lionel A says:

    Some interesting back stories on Ryan and his rise to fortune (I leave out fame for it should soon be infamy) H/T Lotharsson at Deltoid:

    The Paul Ryan Origin Story Is a Heaping Pile

    The Ryan Family’s History of Fakery

    Paul Ryan, Mentoree to the Zombie-Eyed Bishop-Killing

    The odour should be building.

    Maybe Romney is trying to see how far he can push.

  60. Bill Gloege says:

    Dear readers of Climate Progress: Do something to help.

    Use this information to make a list of Ryan’s anti-science, pro-big oil stand. Then write a letter to your local newspaper.

    Next, pick up the phone to a call-in show and spread the same information.

    Voters need to know who this guy is and whose interests he represents. Certainly not the interests of Mother Earth and the climate that keeps us all alive.

  61. Farmers should start with lawsuits against big oil/gas/coal for harming their crops.

  62. madkow says:

    Thats a good thing because we have the largest population in history…wait…8th largest?…largest?…will it be enough?

  63. madkow says:

    from what I have read…it was more then Willard is willing to show us.

  64. jim edelson says:

    And despite all of his denial of scientific fact, Ryan still is “pleased” with a reduction a greenhouse gas emissions when it comes to getting federal taxpayers dollars for his district.

    “I was pleased that the primary objectives of their project will allow residents and businesses in the partner cities to reduce their energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and stimulate the local economy by creating new jobs,” Ryan wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu on December 18, 2009, on behalf of the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation. Boston Globe 8/14/12.

    Ryan is a hypocrite on global warming and on federal spending in the same sentence!