Someone actually managed to convince a GOP climate denier to change his mind

Rep. Michael Grimm did some research. You'll never believe what happened next

By Lindsay Abrams
Published April 25, 2014 6:30PM (EDT)
Michael Grimm             (Reuters/Gary Cameron)
Michael Grimm (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

Here's New York Rep. Michael Grimm, speaking in 2010 at the Molinari Republican Club Debate: “I have been one of the guys who have been skeptical of global warming from the beginning. The jury is obviously still out on it. We see nothing but conflicting reports from across the globe. I’m not sure, I’m not a scientist.”

Here he is again in an upcoming episode of Showtime's climate change documentary, "Years of Living Dangerously": "I don’t think the science is there to tell us what’s causing it … I don’t want to get into the political debate of what’s causing it.

And here he is, later in that same episode, speaking with Chris Hayes: "The mass majority of respected scientists say that it’s conclusive, the evidence is clear. So I don’t think the jury is out."

What caused this remarkable transformation? Apparently, Grimm met with former South Carolina congressman Bob Inglis. A Republican, he heads up the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, an organization whose mission is to convince conservatives that addressing climate change is in their best interest, too.

"After speaking with Bob Inglis, it made me do some of my own research," Grimm explains to Hayes.

"The basic story of – we’re putting carbon in the atmosphere, the planet’s getting warmer, that’s gonna make the sea levels rise -- like, the basic story of that you pretty much agree with, right?" Hayes prompts.

"Sure, I mean there’s no question that, um, you know, the oceans have risen, right?" is Grimm's response. "And the climate change part is, is a real part of it."

Unfortunately, Grimm's enlightenment to the fact that the world is in serious trouble doesn't seem to have done quite enough to convince him that he should take action. "The problem that we’re gonna have right now -- there’s no oxygen left in the room in Washington for another big debate," he tells Hayes. The country won't act, he adds, because “I don’t think that humans in America, Americans, have the will to do it.”

But hey, at least we got somewhere, right?

Lindsay Abrams

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Bob Inglis Chris Hayes Climate Skeptics Rep. Michael Grimm Years Of Living Dangerously