Ron Johnson, the Tea Party-backed GOP Senate candidate hoping to topple Sen. Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, has a simple explanation for why climate change is not a human-created phenomenon. He calls it "sunspot activity," and says that this analysis leaves the issue of global shifts in climate completely out of our hands.
If you take a look at geologic time, we've had huge climate swings. We're sitting here in Wisconsin. Had it not been for climate swings, we'd be sitting on a two or three hundred foot thick glacier. Man wasn't around back then. So no, I absolutely do not believe that the science of man-caused climate change is proven. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I think it's far more likely that it's just sunspot activity, or something just in the geologic eons of time where we have changes in the climate.
The Middle Ages was an extremely warm period of time, too. It wasn't like there were tons of cars on the road. So it always strikes me as a little absurd for anybody to think, Okay, this is the sweet spot in geologic time for climate. And it's such a good place, that we have spent trillions of dollars, and do great harm to our economy, on a fool's errand. I don't think we can do anything about controlling what the climate is.
Such a stance is not unusual for Johnson, whose recent history of apologizing for polluters includes a proposal to open up the Great Lakes for offshore drilling due to the irreconcilable fact that "we are an oil-based economy." Last month, he also made news when he said that he'd dump his BP stock, but only after its value went back up.
At any rate, however, Johnson's proposal that current climate trends could be better explained by "sunspot activity," or perhaps by what he calls a "sweet spot in geologic time for climate," seems overly simplistic at best. But such outright denial of man-made climate change is right in line with what a wide variety of GOP candidates -- including the entire field of New Hampshire Republican Senate candidates -- are, in part, choosing to run on.
Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising then that, when asked what effect -- if any -- carbon dioxide emissions might have on the planet, Johnson responded:
"I think it gets sucked down by trees and helps trees grow."
Watch Ron Johnson blame climate change on "sun spot activity":