Ron PaulPhoto: R. DeYoungRon Paul 
U.S. rep from Texas

Paul used to acknowledge that climate change might be a bit of a problem and might be at least slightly driven by human activity, but more recently he’s taken the Inhofe-ian view that it’s all a big ol’ hoax.

On climate science: In a 2007 interview with Grist, Paul said, “I think some of it [global warming] is related to human activities, but I don’t think there’s a conclusion yet.” In an interview with the Freakonomics guys in late 2008, Paul again raised questions about how much humans are to blame for changes in the climate, but acknowledged that “[c]learly there is something afoot” and “science shows that human activity probably does play a role in stimulating the current fluctuations.” He continued, “I think there are common-sense steps we can take to cut emissions and preserve our environment.”

But the next year, he sounded much more the skeptic: “there is no consensus in the scientific community that global warming is getting worse or that it is manmade,” he wrote, going on to cite a thoroughly debunked anti-climate-science petition. Then in an interview on Fox News on Nov. 4, 2009, Paul slid still furthe
r down the skeptic slope: “the greatest hoax I think that has been around for many, many years if not hundreds of years has been this hoax on the environment and global warming.”

On climate policy: Paul was firmly opposed to the cap-and-trade bill that passed the House in 2009; he warned that it would “put another nail in the economy’s coffin.” In May 2009, Paul signed the “No Climate Tax Pledge” promoted by the Koch brothers’ group Americans for Prosperity.

Paul’s proposed remedy for any problems with our energy system is eliminating all energy subsidies: “If oil were allowed to rise to its natural price, there would be tremendous market incentives to find alternate sources of energy,” he said in his Freakonomics interview.

Read more on Paul and climate. Also read Grist’s 2007 interview with Paul.

Haven’t gotten enough yet? Read up on long-shot contender Herman Cain, who’s also a climate denier — and who encourages you not to “snuff your seed.”