Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), noted climate change denier and chair of the House Science Committee, on Monday penned an eyebrow-raising op-ed that argued there are “benefits” to a changing climate.
“The benefits of a changing climate are often ignored and under-researched. Our climate is too complex and the consequences of misguided policies too harsh to discount the positive effects of carbon enrichment,” Smith wrote in an op-ed for The Daily Signal, a website run by the conservative Heritage Foundation.
Smith acknowledged that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing and argued that it would help plant growth and farming. He also posited that sea ice melting in the Arctic would open up new shipping routes, spinning ice melt as a positive change for the Earth.
“The use of fossil fuels and the byproducts of carbon enrichment play a large role in advancing the quality of human life by increasing food production to feed our growing population, stimulating the economy, and alleviating poverty,” he wrote. “Bad deals like the Paris Agreement would cost the U.S. billions of dollars, a loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, and have no discernible impact on global temperatures.”
Smith, as chair of the House Science Committee, has led a crusade against climate scientists, in particular targeting a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study in 2015. He has also gone after environmental groups and state attorneys general over investigations into ExxonMobil’s climate change denialism.