Boehner Cites Cow Farts To Downplay Global Warming
Minority Leader John Boehner described the overwhelming scientific consensus that carbon dioxide is contributing to climate change as "comical" during an appearance on Sunday, noting that cow flatulence contributes CO2 to the environment all the time.
Appearing on ABC's This Week, the Ohio Republican was asked what to describe the GOP plan to dealing with greenhouse gas emissions, "which every major scientific organization said is contributing to climate change."
Boehner replied: "The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know when they do what they do you've got more carbon dioxide."
"It's clear we've had change in our climate," he added. "The question is how much does man have to do with it and what is the proper way to deal with this? We can't do it alone as one nation."
The argument that carbon dioxide has not influenced climate change is something that global warming deniers have pushed for years. The oil industry-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute launched advertisements several years ago proclaiming that CO2 is "essential to life" because "we breath it out."
The preponderance of scientific evidence, of course, shows that carbon dioxide can be a dangerous pollutant at excessive levels. In 2007, the Nobel-prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal" and "very likely" man-made.
Boehner's argument that the amount of C02 in the air is natural, meanwhile, is disproved by data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"Natural sources of CO2 occur within the carbon cycle where billions of tons of atmospheric CO2 are removed from the atmosphere by oceans and growing plants, also known as 'sinks,' and are emitted back into the atmosphere annually through natural processes also known as 'sources.' When in balance, the total carbon dioxide emissions and removals from the entire carbon cycle are roughly equal. Since the Industrial Revolution in the 1700's, human activities, such as the burning of oil, coal and gas, and deforestation, have increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. In 2005, global atmospheric concentrations of CO2 were 35% higher than they were before the Industrial Revolution."
Perhaps surprisingly, Boehner isn't the first Republican congressman to raise flatulence in the discussion of global warming. A few years ago, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher claimed that a past incident of climate change may have been caused by "dinosaur flatulence, you know, or who knows?"