Members of Colorado’s world-renowned climate science research community blasted U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck at a conference Friday for touting his skepticism about global warming and supporting arch-climate change denier Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, who believes global warming is a hoax apparently perpetrated over decades by scientists around the world intent to ruin the U.S. economy.
“The basic science of the effect of human-produced CO2 on climate change is 150 years old,” said Colorado State University climatologist Scott Denning at the conference called by the League of Conservation Voters. ThinkProgress writer Brad Johnson followed up with Dennis Ojima, chair of Colorado State’s Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, who offered the rhetorical equivalent of burying his face in his hands, aghast.
“Quite simply, there is no hoax in studying climate change.”
“It is an important research concern, the same as studying cancer or the economic growth. There is no controversy about the role human actions have made to alter the climate system through the emissions of greenhouse gases over the past 150 years,” Ojima told Think Progress’s Wonk Room. “The fundamental physics associated with the impact of this change in atmospheric concentrations of these gases is not disputed. The manner in which these gases react in the atmosphere is one of the fundamental properties of the climate system. The science at the fundamental level related to greenhouse gases and climate are as solid and as important as the finding that germs are responsible for illnesses and that there are specific strategies to reduce germs in the environment we live in.”
Think Progress also talked to National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist Caspar Ammann, who said he reached out to Buck earlier in the campaign to plead the case for scientific facts but to no avail. The Buck campaign never returned his calls.
As ThinkProgress points out there is some irony to the fact that a climate change denier is running to represent Colorado in the U.S. Senate.
Colorado is a hub of American climate science, home to the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory. On Thursday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Colorado State University would house the North Central Climate Science Center, leading a consortium of the University of Colorado, Colorado School of Mines, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Wyoming, Montana State University, University of Montana, Kansas State University and Iowa State University.
Buck has won the support of Tea Party voters across the state over the last year. He has failed to win the support of the influential scientific community here.