If overwhelming scientific consensus wasn't already enough to convince someone that climate change is real and requires immediate action, just look outside your window. All the heat waves, record-setting droughts, freak storms, and catastrophic wildfires we've seen all summer long reflect the trends that climate scientists have been predicting would result from global warming.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said that the period from January to June of this year has been the warmest first half of a year on record for the U.S. mainland. Last month, there were more than 3,200 daily high temperature records broken or tied across this country. And renowned climate scientist James E. Hansen recently concluded that "for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change."
This extreme weather has given us all a front row seat to the impacts of climate change and reminded us of what's at stake for our environment and economy if Congress keeps failing to address it. But despite all the facts and evidence, some members of the House of Representatives are still unwilling to admit that climate change is real. How can we expect them to fix a problem if they don't even admit it exists?
We can't. If we want action on climate change, we'll need new voices in the House of Representatives. That's why the League of Conservation Voters has launched a new $1.5 million program, called the "Flat Earth Five," to defeat five of the most vocal climate deniers in the House of Representatives this election cycle.
The current House of Representatives is the most anti-environmental in our nation's history, and narrowing this down to five people wasn't easy. But we're targeting climate deniers in key swing districts, where we know our efforts could make a real difference. With this program, we have the opportunity to end the careers of some of the most vocal climate deniers and bring an end to their reckless attacks on the environment.
Four of the Flat Earth Five have been announced so far -- Reps. Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-24), Dan Benishek (MI-1), Dan Lungren (CA-3) and Francisco Canseco (TX-23) -- and we'll announce the final addition next week. Their views on climate change show us just what we're up against.
Rep. Buerkle has referred to global warming as a "myth," claiming that "the jury is still out on the issue." Rep. Benishek has called climate change "all baloney," dismissing it as "just some scheme." Rep. Lungren has claimed that efforts to combat climate change are driven by "ideological bias." Although he's expressed support for cutting carbon emissions "without waiting for proof or disproof of global warming," he voted against landmark climate change legislation in 2009. He's even condemned EPA regulation of carbon as a "vicious blow" to "our freedom."
Rep. Canseco is also ignoring the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding climate change. He responded to the EPA's limits on harmful carbon pollution by stating that "passing environmental regulations based on reportedly manufactured global warming data is utterly the wrong direction for our country."
We're seeing the effects of climate change like never before, but it's not too late to fight back. Just a few years ago, the House passed historic comprehensive energy and climate legislation. Congress must take on this challenge again -- but it will not happen if extreme, anti-science lawmakers like these are standing in the way of progress.
It's time to stand up for science and defend our environment, and that's exactly what the Flat Earth Five campaign is all about. We can show Congress that the American people believe in facts and science, and are tired of waiting for action on climate change. Learn more about this program and help restore the place of science on Capitol Hill.