When Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson was in drought-stricken California on Tuesday, he denied that there was overwhelming science about the role humans play in causing climate change.
On Thursday afternoon, Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA) sent him a flash drive with the entire U.N. IPCC Synthesis report containing a summary of exactly that science.
“Please use your considerable intelligence to review this material,” a letter accompanying the flash drive read. “Climate change is much bigger than partisan politics.”
In July, Brown was among a passel of global mayors and regional leaders who visited the Vatican to talk about climate action. There, he attacked climate deniers for “bamboozling” the public and putting “troglodytes” into public office.
Ben Carson, the candidate within striking distance of Donald Trump according to national polls, was asked about Brown’s comments in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle after an event at the city’s Commonwealth Club.
“I know there are a lot of people who say ‘overwhelming science,’ but then when you ask them to show the overwhelming science, they never can show it,” Carson told the Chronicle reporter. “There is no overwhelming science that the things that are going on are man-caused and not naturally caused. Gimme a break.”
Brown’s letter first said he hoped Carson had “enjoyed [his] visit to the Golden State.” He noted Carson’s reported comments, and then jumped straight to the evidence.
“Please find enclosed a flash drive with the complete United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ‘Synthesis Report,’ the concluding installment of the Fifth Assessment Report, published earlier this year,” the letter said. It went on to describe the definitive conclusions from 30,000 scientific papers and 800 authors that were confirmed by 80 countries that “human influence on the climate system is clear and growing.”
A spokesperson for Brown confirmed to ThinkProgress that not only had the letter and the flash drive been sent to Carson, but an email with the letter and a link to the IPCC report had also been sent.
— Gov. Brown Press Ofc (@GovPressOffice) September 10, 2015
“This is just one of the thousands of reports authored by the world’s top scientists on the subject, including a study published last month by Columbia University, University of Idaho and NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies scientists that found climate change has intensified California’s drought,” the letter read. “These aren’t just words. The consequences are real.”
Carson has been largely quiet about climate science but has said in the past that “we may be warming, we may be cooling.” He’s been critical of the EPA and efforts to kill the Keystone XL pipeline.
This is not the first time Brown has sent letters to Republican candidates about climate science. Prior to the first primary debate of the campaign, he sent an open letter to candidates what their plan was to address climate change. After detailing the impact the state’s drought and wildfires were having on the state and the country, he said: “Given the challenge and the stakes, my question for you is simple: What are you going to do about it? What is your plan to deal with the threat of climate change?”
Brown suffered a defeat Wednesday as a key component of an ambitious climate legislative package got stripped away after moderate Democrats in the legislature balked at goals attempting to cut in half petroleum use in cars and trucks by 2030. The bill, still being debated on Friday, would still improve targets for building efficiency and low-carbon electricity generation, among other things.
He blamed the oil industry’s influence on the transportation defeat.
“Oil has won the skirmish, but they’ve lost the bigger battle,” he said. “Because I am more determined than ever to make our regulatory regime work for the people of California: cleaning up the air, reducing the petroleum and creating the green jobs that are going to put hundreds of thousands of people to work over the coming decades.”