AFTON, Oklahoma — If there’s a state that knows the devastating effects of extreme weather, it’s Oklahoma. Massive tornadoes to widespread droughts, record-breaking heat to severe winter storms leaving hundreds of thousands without power, all in the last few years and worsened by climate change.
ThinkProgress spoke with Rep. Markwayne Mullin, a freshman Congressman from Oklahoma, about whether whether he believed in the science behind manmade climate change, as over 97 percent of scientists do. “I haven’t seen the reports that would get me to believe that anything’s different than the patterns that we had [in the past],” Mullin argued.
KEYES: President Obama started to make a push again on climate change and new climate initiatives. Is manmade climate change something that you believe in, do you think is happening? And if so, do you think we have a responsibility to do anything about it?
MULLIN: I haven’t seen the reports that would get me to believe that anything’s different than the patterns that we had that we’ve gone through through the time of records. All of our records we’ve hit in heat waves, look at them. They’re in the 1930s. Dust bowl happened way before your and I’s time. And the cycles we had, we had cold winters growing up and we’ve had mild winters growing up.
Mullin now becomes the 128th Republican in Congress — in addition to 30 GOP senators — who are on record denying the existence of manmade climate change. Together, the Anti-Science Climate Denier Caucus accounts for over 55 percent of Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Still, the cost of denial is as high in Oklahoma as anywhere. A CAP Action analysis found that just since 2011, there have been 38 climate-related disaster declarations across the state, second only to Texas.
Though Mullin cited the dust bowl as an excuse to deny climate change today, we’re already topping dust bowl temperature records, and showing no sign of stopping.