House GOPer: Term "climate denier" offensive because it's like "Holocaust denier"

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who is skeptical of man-made global warming, does not like the term "climate denier"

Published June 19, 2013 4:53PM (EDT)

At a House Science Committee hearing on climate change, climate change non-believer Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., questioned Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on the science behind climate change, and took exception to a recent campaign by Organizing for Action against "climate deniers" in Congress.

Rohrabacher first argued that some researchers are “very skeptical of some of the research that has been going on" that links human action to climate change. He then objected to OFA's use of the term "climate denier."

“The only other use of that term is a ‘Holocaust denier,’” Rohrabacher said, according to Politico. “Do you use that term ‘denier’ for those people who disagree with you on climate science, and do you think that term is appropriate in engaging in a civil discourse over a scientific issue?”

“I much prefer a civil discourse, and that’s what I hope we’re engaging in," Moniz replied.

From Politico:

Several Republicans pressed Moniz about what percentage of climate change can be attributed to human activity, rather than natural variances.

“Is there any way to estimate what percent? Is it over half? Fifty percent, 90 percent of human activities?” Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) asked.

Moniz, echoing the sentiments of the vast majority of climate scientists, said climate change can be attributed largely to human activity, though he said he did not know the exact percentage.

As Salon has reported, a big handful of Republicans on the House Science Committee have a rather shaky relationship with science. Rohrabacher himself once speculated that a period of dramatic climate change 55 million years ago "could be dinosaur flatulence, you know, or who knows?” Smith, who chairs the committee, once accused several news networks of "a steady pattern of bias on climate change" that is “largely slanted in favor of global warming alarmists.”

By Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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