POLITICS
05/30/2017 03:33 pm ET

GOP Rep. Says He's Not A Climate-Change Denier, Then Casts Doubt On Basic Fact

History probably won't be kind to this generation of Republicans.
Rep. Mark Walker participates in a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Feb. 3, 2015.
Bill Clark via Getty Images
Rep. Mark Walker participates in a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Feb. 3, 2015.

Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) doesn’t deny the climate is changing, but he does deny the basic facts underpinning that conclusion.

On Tuesday, at a town hall in Graham, North Carolina, the GOP representative responded to a constituent’s question about climate change by simultaneously acknowledging it exists ― and denying humans are responsible for it:

Walker told the crowd of around 75 people he doesn’t doubt the climate is shifting, but that he is unsure “how much of it is man-made,” and that acting to curb the causes might be too burdensome.

A broad scientific consensus, based on large amounts of data, points to human activity as the primary culprit for climate change. Put simply, as human emissions of heat-trapping gasses like carbon dioxide have spiked, so have global temperatures. 

Walker’s logic may be baffling, but it’s a common Republican refrain that appears designed to acknowledge climate change’s threats while simultaneously denying any responsibility for addressing them.

That basic premise is clearer on Walker’s 2015 campaign website, where he accused the “secular left” of using climate change as “a political football.”

“Much of the ‘so-called’ science of climate change is contested though it’s made a few politicians quite wealthy,” his position reads. “I believe that God provided the earth to us and we have a responsibility to conserve and respect the environment. When companies damage or abuse our environment, they should be held accountable.”

Tellingly, that last sentence ― the one about holding companies accountable for damaging the environment ― no longer appears on Walker’s website.

In April, Motherboard examined Walker’s voting record and labeled the representative an outright “climate change denier,” as opposed to merely having a “poor climate change voting record.” 

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