Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress Action Fund released “The 2016 Anti-science Climate Denier Caucus” today, a new analysis of the state of climate denial in Congress. The updated look finds that 182 members of the House and Senate deny the science behind climate change, and every single denier is a member of the Republican Party. The 182 climate deniers is an increase from previous years, with 16 deniers new to the analysis including Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV). While there are a few members of the Republican caucus who do accept climate science, the party’s entire leadership does not.
Members of the Climate Denier Caucus have received more than $73 million in campaign contributions from the dirty energy industry, including oil, gas, and coal. And while more than 67 percent of Americans support action to address climate change, nearly two-thirds are represented by a climate denier in Congress. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said:
Climate deniers flout the universities, local elected officials, and employers in their own home states who understand the dangers of climate change, as well as the voters across the country who call on us to take responsible action to protect their communities. Members of Congress should be accountable to their constituents, not to a fossil fuel industry that uses the threat of unlimited campaign spending to command their silence.
One senator and five representatives in Florida’s congressional delegation continue to deny climate science, even though they represent a state that is on the front lines of the impacts of climate change. Fortunately, President Barack Obama and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have released the first-ever standards to curb the carbon pollution that drives climate change. But political maneuvering by these polluters’ pawns threatens to block these common sense public health safeguards that would prevent 150,000 asthma attacks and save more than 6,000 lives, while also saving $54 billion in health benefits. Mayor Cindy Lerner of the Village of Pinecrest, Florida, said:
The Village of Pinecrest and cities and towns across the state of Florida have felt the impacts of climate change for years. From more severe storms to sunny day flooding on and off the coast, the effects of climate change are taking a toll on Florida families. That’s why I’ve joined with 20 other mayors to call on Sen. Marco Rubio to accept the science behind climate change and stop playing politics with our future.
The threat of climate change is particularly acute for communities of color, including Latinos. Latinos are 60 percent more likely to visit the hospital for asthma and Latino children are 40 percent more likely to die from asthma compared to non-Hispanic whites, and Latino families are more likely to live in low lying areas that are vulnerable to the effects of sea level rise. Nearly 75 percent of Latinos are worried about the threat of climate change, according to a recent Latino Decisions poll. But many of their elected officials continue to deny the existence of one of the greatest threats to this important constituency. As Mayor Lerner said:
Last year set yet another record as the hottest in history. When the impacts of climate change become more and more apparent each year—more severe storms, deadly wildfires, and crippling droughts—it’s clear we don’t have time to wait. Floridians, and Americans across the country, deserve leaders who will stand up to face this threat head on—not those clearly following the playbook of their largest campaign donors.
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