Johnson denies being a climate change denier

Letter to the Editor in the Marietta Times Jan 31, 2020 written by Aaron Dunbar

In a letter to the Times published on Jan. 9, I characterized District 6 Congressman Bill Johnson as a climate change denier. I have since heard through the grapevine that Johnson read my letter, and has vehemently disputed this notion. In other words, he denies being a denier.

This intrigued me.

Consider a few passages from an op-ed penned by Johnson a few years ago, currently available to read on his website:

“Long before Americans were around to blame, there was climate change. Geology tells us that at one time, much of Ohio was covered by ice. At other times, the planet was so warm, that Ohio was under water. These are facts proven throughout the Earth’s history, recorded for the ages in the ground that we live on. Our climate is constantly changing.”

“Carbon-dioxide – the air that we exhale when we breathe has been labeled as a primary cause of global warming by some climate scientists.”

“Additionally, a recent peer-reviewed survey of Canadian geoscientists and engineers found that only 36 percent believe that humans are creating global warming.”

“Remember the hysteria over the hole in the ozone layer?”

In so many words, Johnson manages to check off just about every hackneyed and scientifically invalid argument in the climate denial playbook.

But let’s put a pin in that for now. Let’s assume that this is an old view, and that at some point since writing these words, Johnson’s eyes have been opened. Surely by now, his record in congress must reflect this newfound appreciation for the science of anthropogenic climate change.

Here I would advise taking a look at Johnson’s scorecard with the League of Conservation Voters, an environmental advocacy group that tracks the voting records of politicians across the country. Currently, Johnson’s career voting score on environmental issues sits at an abysmal 3% on the LVC website.

Let me repeat that for you: Three. Percent.

According to campaign finance website, meanwhile, Johnson has received a career total of $603,916 in donations from the oil and gas industry, easily his largest industry campaign contributor by about $100,000.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?” Well if this is the version of Congressman Johnson that actually believes in climate change, I shudder to imagine the damage he would do to our planet as a full-fledged denier.

I would absolutely love to be proven wrong about all of this. Nothing would make me happier than to know that my representation in congress was making the long-term habitability of our planet a top priority.

Until Congressman Johnson changes course and begins to show real leadership on this issue, however, I have every intention of referring to him as exactly what he is: a climate change denier.

For more information on how you can get involved with climate issues locally, please contact Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action today!