Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson Dismisses Climate Change – Mocking President and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Toby Hazlewood

Can climate change really be denied so confidently?

Climate change protestPhoto by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

As a heatwave rips across the country, and states like Texas and New York are experiencing power outages and blackouts, on July 8th CNN reported footage from a GOP Luncheon where Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin described climate change in dismissive terms, mouthing an expletive in his reference to it.

The Federalist went on to report Johnson's further comments beyond the headline-grabbing statement:

"I do not share Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s view that the “world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.” Or President Biden saying the “greatest threat” to U.S. security is climate change. I consider those to be extreme positions — to say the least." - Senator Ron Johnson

While the heatwave continues and is expected to last at least until mid-July, thousands are suffering discomfort while many others are having to visit the emergency room having been overcome by the heat. Johnson's comments then seem poorly timed and insensitive, particularly after he then sought to turn climate change into a matter for political advancement on Twitter:

Source: Twitter

How real is climate change in Wisconsin?

Statistics reported by the Environmental Protection Agency show conclusively that climate change is evidential in Wisconsin. In the past century, most of the state has warmed about two degrees Fahrenheit on average. Additionally, heavy rainstorms are becoming more frequent and ice cover on the Great Lakes is forming later or melting sooner.

The consequences of such climate change could include a heightened risk of flooding as well as reduced water quality as a result of algae that are able to grow more prolifically in the Great Lakes as a result of warmer temperatures (for example).

While the pace of change may seem beyond the concerns of Wisconsin residents right now, the speed with which the planet warms and pollution increases seems to be increasing rapidly. The University of Wisconsin-Madison projects that by the year 2080 winter weather conditions will be more like Lansing, Kansas - where temperatures are 11.9 degrees Fahrenheit hotter and 2.2% drier than Madison. Such differences are significant and demonstrate that the pace of climate change is increasing.

Will the world end in 12 years through climate change?

Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez actually made the prediction that “The world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change” in January 2019. Maybe we only have 10 years left now to solve the issue?

It may seem extreme, and illustrate a worst case prediction, but it demonstrates her passionate belief that there is a serious risk to be dealt with.

Source: Twitter

Forbes magazine pointed out in 2019 that the effect of such statements from politicians is often more about inspiring action and large-scale responses than a means of setting themselves up to be proven right (or wrong). It points out that organizations like Extinction Rebellion were born around the same time, and have since been responsible along with climate change activists like Greta Thunberg who are raising the public consciousness about climate change and risk.

In the US, just as in the rest of the world, with undeniable evidence of climate change that's resulting in measurable effects in our weather it seems sensible to take the threat seriously. To that end maybe political leaders like Senator Ron Johnson shouldn't be describing climate change in dismissive and explicit terms, but rather demonstrating an intention to address the issue proactively.

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