In just a few months, voters in Louisiana’s sixth Congressional District will select a new face to represent them in the U.S. House. If they choose state representative Lenar Whitney (R-Houma), they’ll be electing one of the most unabashed climate deniers currently running for federal office.
Whitney, who proclaims to be one of the most conservative members of Louisiana’s state Legislature, released her first campaign video on Wednesday — a 5-minute long tirade against climate scientists and the existence of global warming. To prove her point, Whitney stated that the earth is getting colder, that there is a record amount of sea ice in the Arctic, and that climate scientists have been proven to actively falsify their data.
“[Climate change] is perhaps the greatest deception in the history of mankind,” she said in the video. “But quite inconveniently for Al Gore and the rest of the politicians that continue to advance this delusion, any ten-year-old can invalidate their thesis with one of the simplest scientific devices known to man — a thermometer. The earth has done nothing but get colder each year.”
Unfortunately, looking at a thermometer in one area of the world at one specific time has nothing to do with the existence of global warming — a worldwide process of increasing atmospheric and ocean temperatures over long periods of time. So while Whitney is correct that last year, Antarctica very briefly experienced the coldest temperature in recorded history, that does not speak to a trend of any kind. What is a trend in the Antarctic, however, is increasingly warm ocean currents causing gradual, unstoppable ice melt that scientists predict could raise global sea levels by up to 4 feet.
CREDIT: National Snow and Ice Data Center
The idea that sea ice is increasing in the Arctic is also another widespread misconception, perpetuated by short-term increases that — again — have nothing to do with the long-term decline. For example, while sea ice may have increased substantially from 2010 to 2011, it is still astonishingly low compared to the amount of ice in 1990, as the chart to the right shows.
Whitney also cited the widely-known “Climategate” e-mail controversy, which accused climate scientists of concocting temperature data from thin air. Multiple investigations into that controversy have found no evidence of fraud or misconduct. There are multiple defamation lawsuits underway from the scientists accused, and judges seem to be taking their side.
As of Monday, Whitney’s political campaign committee had registered no financial receipts or disbursements, and no cash on hand. However, her website touts $100,000 in donations to her campaign fund, Friends of Lenar. That fund is run by Ross Little Jr., the National Committeeman of Louisiana’s Republican Party, and the corporate secretary of Teche Federal Savings Bank. Whitney herself is the Republican National Committeewoman for Louisiana. Tea Party darling Joe The Plumber recently wrote about her on his blog.
Whitney joins a crowded race for Louisiana’s sixth Congressional district, whose Republican candidates include Gov. Bobby Jindal’s former coastal adviser Garrett Graves, and state Sen. Dan Claitor, (R-Baton Rouge). The race also features former state Gov. Edwin Edwards, who was recently released from prison after being convicted of extortion in 2000. Recent polling shows Edwards leading the bunch, with Whitney lumped into a group of candidates polling under 5 percent.