MUST LISTEN: “Sen. Cory Gardner’s Climate Conspiracy Theory Revealed” [HuffPost]

MUST LISTEN: “Sen. Cory Gardner’s Climate Conspiracy Theory Revealed” [HuffPost]

In a newly unveiled 2017 interview out of Yuma, Gardner repeatedly refuses to say if humans are causing climate change — calling it a “loaded political debate” despite his desperate attempts to greenwash his toxic environmental record

Denver, CO In a newly unveiled 2017 recording published today by HuffPost, Senator Cory Gardner repeatedly refuses to say if humans cause climate change and “lean[s] into conspiratorial thinking that efforts to curb carbon emissions are part of a larger plan to ‘control the economy.’” When pressed by a columnist from his hometown Yuma Pioneer, Gardner says talking about climate change is a “loaded political debate” and “squirms” when pressed for a straight answer. 

HuffPost notes that Gardner’s stance is “out of sync with scientific reality and the political consensus among Centennial State voters.” Gardner’s office tried to intimidate the paper into holding the interview, which was not previously published.

The report comes out as Gardner is desperately trying to walk back his climate denial and greenwash his abysmal environmental record of exacerbating climate change and standing with President Trump as they rolled back protections for clean air and water and gave big polluters free rein. 

Read highlights below or the full article HERE.

HuffPost: Sen. Cory Gardner’s Climate Conspiracy Theory Revealed In 2017 Recording
A local newspaper columnist’s persistent questions laid bare what the now-embattled Republican senator actually thought about the climate crisis.
By  Alexander C. Kaufman | October 7, 2020

  • But in a 2017 audiotape HuffPost obtained, Gardner squirms out of questions about what is causing climate change, instead leaning into conspiratorial thinking that efforts to curb carbon emissions are part of a larger plan to “control the economy.”
  • “There are people who want to control the economy as a result of their belief about the environment,” Gardner said in a previously unpublished interview with a local newspaper columnist in his native Yuma County in rural eastern Colorado. “Absolutely, there are.”
  • Throughout their 17-minute phone call, Gregory Hill, a novelist who writes a column for the 136-year-old weekly Yuma Pioneer, fired off an unsparing barrage of questions that the senator tried to deflect from a position on climate change that is out of sync with scientific reality and the political consensus among Centennial State voters.
  • Pressed to state clearly that gases from fossil fuels accumulate in the atmosphere and trap the sun’s heat on the planet, an effect that scientists first grappled with more than a century ago, Gardner said he didn’t want to get “into a loaded political debate.”
  • This year, Gardner sponsored the Great American Outdoors Act, a law to permanently fund the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund that the GOP-controlled Senate hastily passed in a bid to boost Republicans’ election prospects amid widespread discontent over the party’s handling of the environment. 
  • It may or may not sway Colorado voters. After all, the legislation solved a problem that Gardner himself had helped to create. The Republican lawmaker had voted in 2011 to eliminate most funding for the National Park Service fund and endorsed cutting $16 million from its budget in 2018.
  • People in Colorado are also grappling with unignorable signs that the climate is changing. This summer’s monsoon season never really arrived in the state. The warmest August since records began in 1895 bled into unprecedentedly hot September days. By October, every inch of Colorado was in drought, with roughly half the state in “extreme drought,” and an already historic wildfire season scorched more than 500 square miles of the state.
  • It’s that desire to unseat Gardner that convinced Hill to share his interview with a reporter. Following their testy Tuesday morning call three years ago, Gardner’s team contacted Tony Rayl, the editor of the Yuma Pioneer, to complain about the columnist’s tone and ask whether Hill truly worked for the paper. Hill, who said he is on the autism spectrum and reacts angrily when someone appears to be evading simple questions, was embarrassed at losing his temper. 
  • “I felt like a failure,” he said in a phone call with HuffPost. And in a county of roughly 10,000 people, he didn’t want his mostly conservative neighbors to see him as “the shrill, hysterical version of the liberal that they already have in their mind.”
  • The senator’s staffers reinforced that feeling. “It felt like this intimidation thing that worked,” Hill said. “It worked on me more than anybody.” So the interview didn’t run in 2017.
  • Gardner’s office did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.