Ron Johnson attacks 'scaremongers' for warning people about climate change

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The Wisconsin Republican is mad that CNN caught him calling climate science 'bullshit.'

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) lashed out at CNN on Tuesday after the network reported his denial of climate science during a speech he gave in June and called Democratic officials who push measures to slow and reverse the impact of climate change "scaremongers."

CNN KFile reported earlier in the day that Johnson had said during an appearance at a Republican Women of Greater Wisconsin luncheon, "I don't know about you guys, but I think climate change is — as Lord Monckton said" and then mouthed the word "bullshit," before adding, "By the way, it is."

Christopher Monckton is a British hereditary peer and UK Independent Party activist who has falsely claimed to be a member of the House of Lords. Monckton has long promoted false "birther" conspiracy theories that President Barack Obama was secretly born in Kenya and has said climate change is a "monstrous hoax" and a "bandwagon of lies," though he has no scientific training.

Johnson said falsely at the luncheon on June 5 that many scientists are debunking climate science and that addressing it is "killing ourselves" via a "self-inflicted wound."

On June 29, Johnson posted what he called a fact check of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's reporting on interviews he had given to the paper. "Regarding climate change, I am not a climate change denier, but I also am not a climate change alarmist. Climate is not static. It has always changed and always will change."

The Wisconsin Republican responded to CNN's report with a pair of tweets that included quotes from the post on the Journal Sentinel interviews, one of which said, "@CNN didn't include: I do not share Rep. Ocasio-Cortez view that the 'world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change.' Or POTUS saying the 'greatest threat' to U.S. security is climate change. I consider those to be extreme positions — to say the least."

The other said, "At some point, all the Malthusian predictions that have not come true should begin reducing the credibility of the scaremongers. But that would take honest reporting by mainstream media, so I'm not holding my breath."

In the post on June 29, Johnson countered charges that he is a climate change denier by saying,

I have repeatedly referenced and agree with the view of Bjorn Lomborg (who fully believes in man-caused climate change) when he acknowledges that with limited resources, there are far more efficient and effective ways of alleviating human suffering than spending money trying to prevent temperature changes that we should be able to easily adapt to (as long as we don’t destroy our economies in a foolish quest to hold back the tides).

Johnson's latest comments come as much of the nation is facing a deadly heat wave, which experts say is being made worse by climate change.

"Climate change is not something in the future: It's something in the present and it's already affecting our health in very dynamic ways," Ana Vicedo Cabrera, a climate change epidemiologist at Switzerland's University of Bern, told National Geographic on Friday. She noted that climate change fuels 37% of all heat-related deaths and warned, "We can expect that what we've seen in the past—that 37 percent—is going to increase exponentially in the future."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.