Mike Huckabee: Wrong about volcanoes, wrong about global warming.

Huckabee Once Again Is Completely Wrong About Science

Huckabee Once Again Is Completely Wrong About Science

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Aug. 4 2015 7:00 AM

Mike Huckabee: Exactly Wrong About Global Warming

Mike Huckabee
He seems remarkably calm given that his pants were on fire.

Photo by Yahoo! News, from the video

When it comes to science, it seems that every time former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee opens his mouth, falsehoods and nonsense fly out.

His latest ridiculousness was uttered when he was interviewed by Katie Couric on Yahoo! News (the exchange starts at 24:07):


Here's the part about global warming (transcribed by me):

Couric: Climate change: Do you believe in it?
Huckabee: I think climate has been changing over the entire history of the Earth.
Couric: Do you believe Man contributes to global warming?
Huckabee: He probably does, but a volcano in one blast will contribute more than a hundred years of human activity.
Couric: That’s very nice, but do you think that Man contributes basically to climate change.
Huckabee: Could be. Y’know, I don’t pretend to know. Here’s what I do know: When I was in college we were told that climate was changing but we were about to enter a deep freeze and if we didn’t make urgent changes in the way we live we were all gonna be Popsicles within another single generation.

In less than a minute Huckabee is able to say two completely and egregious false howlers.

The first is about volcanoes. He’s completely wrong there. First, in a single year, human activity puts a hundred times as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as volcanoes do. I’ve written about this false denier claim many times. The idea behind it is to say that Nature does far more to change the climate than we do (note he starts off saying that climate has always been changing, another line of denier baloney*), and this sows doubt that we puny humans can do much compared with that. 

And it’s even more ironic: Volcano eruptions launch sulfur dioxide and aerosols into the atmosphere that reflect sunlight, and so they actually cool the Earth overall. Huckabee is not only wrong, he’s exactly wrong.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

Second, his global cooling comment is also just so much fertilizer. If I had been there, I would’ve asked him who, exactly, made the claim we were “about to enter a deep freeze”. Because even back then, the majority of published scientific research pointed toward warming, not cooling. It was the media that trumped up the cooling idea (and they had to cherry-pick data to do it), and of course it’s the Republican climate change deniers who keep beating that drum, as ridiculous as it is.

And it hardly matters; that was 40 years ago. Today, with better measurements, better understanding, and far, far more research into the problem, the overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree: The Earth is warming, and it’s human activity causing it. At least 97 percent of climate scientists agree with that statement, and the actual consensus may be even stronger.

And Huckabee is wrong in another way (in case you’re not used to it yet). He says he “doesn’t pretend to know” about climate change, but that’s exactly what he’s doing: pretending to know. If he listened to any scientists who actually study our climate he wouldn’t have to pretend any more. He’d know for a fact the planet is heating up.

Tip o’ the caldera to Christian Walters.

*To be clear, of course the climate is always changing. But deniers use this line to downplay the fact that the Earth is currently warming almost entirely due to human influence. They say it's the Sun, or Earth's orbit, or whatever—anything but our use of fossil fuels.