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Benishek at Debate: “I’m Not Sure How Significant Global Warming Is”

Contact: Jeff Gohringer, 202-454-4573 or

October 16, 2012  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a debate last night, Rep. Dan Benishek (MI-01) doubled down on his anti-science views on climate change. When asked if global warming was a major threat to the Great Lakes, Benishek spoke at length about his extreme position, saying “I’m not sure how significant global warming is” and even telling the audience, “You have to be very skeptical of science, OK?” 

“Dan Benishek underscored why he is a part of the Flat Earth Five, doubling-down on extreme, discredited ideas,” said Navin Nayak, LCV Senior Vice President of Campaigns. “Voters are tired of having uninformed ideologues representing them in Washington.”

Benishek pointed to his background as a general surgeon, saying, “Well, frankly, I’m not sure how significant global warming is…[audience boos]…well, I don’t know, I’m a scientist…[audience laughter]…Well I don’t know, I’ve studied medicine. I’ve written research papers, I’ve done peer review journals, I spent a lot of time in the sciences and you know I’m not exactly sure what’s happening with the climate.”

Then, trying to back up his statement that people should be “skeptical of science,” Benishek falsely claimed, “You have to write a paper, you have to have 8 or 10 different non-associated people who have the same skill set concur and find the same results. That’s not happening in the research papers that we see about global warming.”

In reality, the scientific views on climate change are as solid as any public policy question will ever get, with the National Academy of Sciences finding that nearly all climate researchers most actively publishing on this topic believe that humans are contributing to climate change.  

Challenger Gary McDowell, brought facts to the debate and a commitment to addressing the threat of climate change. McDowell replied, "I think virtually every scientist who is not working for BP or the Koch brothers -- and Dr. Benishek -- agree that we have to do something."

LCV today announced a new billboard campaign targeting Benishek for his extreme views on climate change. The billboards, which will be up in Traverse City, Petoskey, and Gaylord through Election Day read,  “When it comes to climate change, Congressman Dan Benishek keeps his head in the sand.”  

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Paid for by the League of Conservation Voters,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.


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