Louisiana state Representative Lenar Whitney, who is running for Congress, has posted a video online where she calls global warming “the greatest deception in the history of mankind.” She goes on to claim that any 10-year old child can disprove global warming with “one of the simplest scientific devices known to man” while holding up what appears to be a Geratherm brand rectal thermometer.
Representative Whitney is trying to argue–as she does throughout the ad–that global warming is not real and the earth has gotten colder since 2006. Her version of reality is based on bad information, cherry-picked data, political bias, and fundamental ignorance about both weather and climate.
The truth is that the earth as a whole continues to get hotter over time, not colder–roughly 1.5 degrees hotter since 1880. To date, the hottest year on record is 2010, while 2013 ranks 4th. Furthermore, each of the top ten warmest years on record have occurred on or after 1998. All one has to do is look at a temperature graph since 1880 and it is clear that, despite short-term fluctuations due to weather patterns, global temperatures have climbed higher and higher over time.
Denying this simple reality–which has been verified by temperature data from land-based weather stations, weather balloons, satellite measurements, sea and ocean temperature records, tree rings and various other sources–is certainly not conservative. Genuine conservatism is not dishonest and fact-averse, it is firmly grounded in reality and prudent decision-making.
Our reality should include conservative solutions to problems like climate change, but that is unlikely as long as a vocal faction on the political right is more interested in denial and demagoguery than solving problems.
PolitiFact.com took a look at Representative Whitney’s video and gave it a “Truth-O-Meter” rating of “Pants on Fire,” a rating reserved for the most blatant level of untruth. You can read the analysis here.