An annual tally of climate deniers in Congress just came out, and there’s good news and bad news. The good news: You’re smarter than 34 percent of Congress. The bad news: You’re smarter than 34 percent of Congress.
The Center for American Progress Action Fund found that there are 182 climate deniers in the current Congress: 144 in the House and 38 in the Senate. That means more than six in 10 Americans are represented by people who think that climate change is a big ‘ol liberal hoax — including some leaders at the highest levels of government, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch “I Am Not a Scientist” McConnell and senator and presidential candidate Marco “I Am Not a Scientist” Rubio. (And those are just the members of Congress who are out-and-out deniers, so it doesn’t include the many more who kinda sorta admit that something might be going on with the climate but still don’t want to do anything about it.)
Not surprisingly, many of these same climate deniers have been handsomely rewarded by the fossil fuel industry. In total, these climate-denying congresspeople have received more than $73 million in contributions from oil, gas, and coal companies over the course of their careers. To get the specifics, check out this handy interactive map, which breaks down exactly who in each state is a climate change denier — and exactly how much cash they’ve gotten from dirty energy.
Take Oklahoma, for example, where five out of seven of the current crop of congresspeople are climate deniers. Sen. James Inhofe, who holds the dubious distinction of being the most infamous denier in Congress, has received more than $2 million from fossil fuel interests. He not only called climate change “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” he actually threw a snowball on the Senate floor last year in a hilarious attempt to disprove climate change. He did not disprove climate change, but perhaps the stunt earned him an extra check from Oklahoma’s natural gas industry.
If there’s a silver lining to this dark news, it’s this: Even though a healthy portion our nation’s leaders continue to perpetuate the dangerous myth that climate change isn’t real, the people know better. Nearly 70 percent of Americans support climate change action, according to the Center for American Progress Action Fund — and that includes many Republicans. Last year, a survey conducted by Republican pollsters found that even most conservative Republicans both believe climate change is real and support clean energy.
The problem is, not the ones in office.