Youngkin says he doesn't 'know' if humans are responsible for climate change

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Scientists almost unanimously agree that humans contribute to climate change.

The Republican nominee for Virginia governor said he doesn't know what causes climate change — despite overwhelming scientific evidence that humans are at least partially to blame.

Glenn Youngkin made the comment Thursday night at a candidate forum for Virginia's hotly contested gubernatorial contest.

"I don't know what's responsible for climate change, in all candor," Youngkin said when asked by the forum's moderators about whether "the actions of mankind are responsible for climate change."

Youngkin added, "I'm a pretty smart guy, but I'm not that smart."

Youngkin went on to admit that climate change is a "challenge" that he would work to address if elected governor but did not go into detail about how he planned to do that.

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee, took Youngkin to task for his lighthearted comments on the threat climate change poses to human life on Earth.

"Glenn Youngkin thinks climate change is some kind of joke," McAuliffe tweeted on Thursday. "This is anything but a joke, Glenn. Virginians in Hampton Roads are among the hardest hit by the effects of climate change in America. Our next governor MUST take this seriously."

A study from NASA published in March found that "rising greenhouse gas concentrations" created by humans burning fossil fuels are directly responsible for climate change.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — a government organization that seeks to "understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts" — said in a 2020 article that "by increasing the abundance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, human activities are amplifying Earth's natural greenhouse effect."

Environmental issues have not yet taken center stage in the Virginia governor's race. But polling shows that voters increasingly view climate change as an existential threat.

A Morning Consult survey from April found that 50% of voters view climate change as a critical threat — up 10 points from four years ago.

While McAuliffe has led in the polls throughout the campaign, the race has tightened in recent weeks.

The election will take place on Nov. 2, and early voting is already underway.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.