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U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson: Climate change is 'bulls---'
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U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson: Climate change is 'bulls---'

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U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson told a group of Republican women last month that climate change is “bulls—-,” continuing the two-term senator’s increasing tendency to criticize the scientific community’s consensus on major issues.

“I don’t know about you guys, but I think climate change is — as Lord Monckton said — bulls—-,” Johnson said, without actually speaking the second half of the expletive but mouthing it, and referring to British conservative climate change denier Lord Christopher Monckton. “By the way, it is.”

After getting the final out on a tapper back to pitcher Josh Caron, the Sun Prairie baseball team celebrates the school's ninth WIAA Division 1 state baseball championship. The Cardinals beat Bay Port, 11-2, at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute.

CNN first reported Tuesday on Johnson’s comments to the Republican Women of Greater Wisconsin Luncheon at Alioto’s in Wauwatosa in early June.

“What are we doing here? Well, we’re killing ourselves,” Johnson, R-Oshkosh, continued. “It’s a self-inflicted wound.”

Johnson’s statement conflicts with the current consensus among 97% of actively publishing climate scientists on climate change, who have concluded that climate-warming trends over the past century are “extremely likely” caused by human activities, according to a NASA climate change report.

President Joe Biden mocked Johnson for his comments during a stop in Crystal Lake, Illinois, on Wednesday.

Johnson has long expressed skepticism toward the notion that climate change is caused by human activities. When he was a candidate in 2010, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Johnson said extreme weather events were better explained by sunspots than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

“I absolutely do not believe in the science of man-caused climate change,” Johnson said at the time. “It’s not proven by any stretch of the imagination.”

In a statement, Johnson said his comments were consistent, that he is “not a climate change denier,” but also “not a climate change alarmist.”

Johnson has voted to acknowledge that climate change is real. Johnson, along with U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, during a 2015 debate on a Keystone XL Pipeline bill, voted to adopt a non-binding resolution stating: “It is the sense of the Senate that climate change is real and not a hoax.”

“Climate is not static,” Johnson said in a statement. “It has always changed and always will change. I do not share Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s view that the ‘world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.’ Or President Biden saying the ‘greatest threat’ to U.S. security is climate change. I consider those to be extreme positions — to say the least.”

Democrats panned Johnson’s position on climate change.

“Yet again Ron Johnson has been caught ignoring the best interests of Wisconsinites, this time in regards to the very real economic and national security threat posed by climate change, in order to further his own political agenda,” said Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesperson Philip Shulman.

Johnson’s latest statement on climate change follows a pattern of skepticism toward the vast majority of the medical and scientific community’s views on certain issues, most notably COVID-19.

Johnson has given a platform to doctors who promoted unproven alternative treatments to COVID-19 that haven’t been accepted by the broader medical community.

He also recently held a media event for people to discuss adverse reactions they or their family members experienced after receiving a coronavirus vaccine. Before the event, Johnson wasn’t able to confirm whether the vaccines actually caused those adverse events, which do occur but are rare.

Johnson hasn’t yet announced whether he’ll seek reelection in 2022, but already, several Democratic candidates have announced bids for his seat.


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