by Emily Southard, Campaign Manager for Forecast the Facts
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) has doubled down on his climate change denial in response to pressure from constituents and the local media. In a Salt Lake Tribune op-ed this Saturday, the newly appointed chair of a key climate science committee delivered a litany of climate denial tropes, concluding with the “political fact” that “the majority of Democrats” are climate deniers like himself:
Finally, let’s consider this political fact. In 2009, despite having control of the entire elected government, President Obama and the Democrats in Washington chose not to pass climate change legislation. And why not? Because even the majority of Democrats recognize that the science regarding climate change is uncertain, the suggested remedies would likely not work, and would be devastating to working families.
Stewart’s “political fact” is not only irrelevant to the scientific fact of human-caused global warming, it is also simply false. A Gallup poll released last week found that 78 percent of Democrats accept the overwhelming scientific understanding that human activities are the cause of climate change.
Only a few months into the job, Stewart’s rejection of science is hurting him at home. The Salt Lake Tribune castigated the new congressman for “ignoring the costs of drought, wildfires and storms like Sandy” when he claimed that the cure to climate pollution is worse than the threat. Scientists at NOAA, NASA and other agencies that are now under Stewart’s jurisdiction have repeatedly found that fiercer droughts, wildfires, and storms are the result of climate change.
Stewart’s comments were particularly disturbing to Utah residents, who faced one of their worst wildfire seasons in the state’s history — one that the recent fossil-fueled drought and extreme heat exacerbated. Over 18,000 people have signed Forecast the Facts’ petition demanding that Stewart stop denying climate science and start developing policies to secure our country against the urgent threat of climate change.
A group of Utah Forecast the Facts members, including former teacher Ryan Pleune and two local high school students, delivered the petition on April 2 to Stewart’s North Salt Lake City town hall meeting and called Stewart to account. Standing before his constituents, Stewart claimed his climate denial is a “moderate” position.
In this weekend’s op-ed, Stewart again defended his ignorance, calling the observed influence of global warming on extreme weather “outlandish” and “scientifically questionable”:
In addition, the emotion behind climate change has led to other scientifically questionable claims, some even asserting that events such as “drought, wildfires and storms like Sandy” are the direct result of climate change. Officials at NOAA, NASA and other agencies that are tasked to further our understanding of climate change have repeatedly rejected such outlandish connections.
While Stewart can claim credit for fabricating statistics about Democrats’ climate concerns, the other climate denial myths he packs into his emotional op-ed have been thoroughly debunked. For those counting, Stewart repeated the denier myths Skeptical Science has helpfully numbered as #2, #3, #5, #7, #12, #16, #41, #73, #85, #136, #139, #140, #153, #171, and #175.
Congressman Stewart’s reckless climate denial is putting all Americans at risk. You can help hold Congressman Stewart accountable to the scientific facts on climate change by signing the Forecast the Facts petition today.