If, while reading this snippet of an interview with Wisconsin GOP Senate frontrunner Ron Johnson, you feel the stupid starting to burn a bit, do not be alarmed.
It is probably just due to the sunspots:
A global warming skeptic, Johnson said extreme weather phenomena were better explained by sunspots than an overload of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as many scientists believe.
"I absolutely do not believe in the science of man-caused climate change," Johnson said. "It's not proven by any stretch of the imagination."
Johnson, in an interview last month, described believers in manmade causes of climate change as "crazy" and the theory as "lunacy."
"It's far more likely that it's just sunspot activity or just something in the geologic eons of time," he said.
Excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere "gets sucked down by trees and helps the trees grow," said Johnson.
Average Earth temperatures were relatively warm during the Middle Ages, Johnson said, and "it's not like there were tons of cars on the road."
He said he disagreed with any government spending to try to address global warming. A strong economy is the best way to preserve a good environment, Johnson said.
Never mind for the moment (as Eric Kleefeld at TPMDC noted) that sunspot activity has actually declined as of late.
Never mind that a group of scientists from the University of Guelph in Canada have released a study saying that there has been decline in tree growth despite increased CO2 levels, due to "warming induced stress."
Never mind that we have at present the conundrum of ever-increasing CO2 concentrations (up 36 percent since pre-industrial times) and ever decreasing trees (the total acreage of tropical forests is about half of what it once was).
What really matters here is that this little bit of "scientific logic" from Johnson is far from unprecedented. Indeed, there has been quite a trend developing with this guy. As Think Progress noted, this is not the first little bit of scientific theory to drop from the lips of candidate Johnson:
Unfortunately, Johnson’s anti-science, anti-environment views aren’t limited to his bizarre theory about sunspots. Last June, he claimed that global warming saved Wisconsin from turning into a glacier, saying he was “glad there’s global warming ... We’d be standing on top of a 200-foot thick glacier.” He has also told the press he is open to oil drilling in Wisconsin’s Great Lakes.
Interestingly, in the same interview where Johnson was pooh-poohing global climate change, he did manage to walk back the "drilling in the Great Lakes" thing.
Not because of the potentially disastrous effects on the natural wonders that are the Great Lakes, however. Johnson explained that "the Great Lakes oil reserves are too small to be worth drilling."
So, no drilling in the Great Lakes. But not because Johnson is concerned about the consequences of such action. Nope. No drilling in the Great Lakes simply because, in true Republican fashion, Johnson is concerned that the oil companies wouldn't make enough money off of it.