Climate Science Misrepresented by Oregon State Senator

In an email newsletter sent by the Oregon legislature on September 4, 2018, State Senator Alan Olsen suggested that scientific research linking human activities to climate change is flawed. Senator Olsen argued that the climate has been changing for millions of years, primarily due to natural forces, and that human activities have little (if any) impact. He stated:

“I do believe that climate is changing. It has for eons and will continue to do so. It is like getting old. Everything in your body changes as you age, but it is not something that you can stop. The Earth is the same way. Climate change will continue to happen regardless of anything we do and that is a fact.”

Senator Olsen then erroneously asserted that global average temperatures did not increase in the early 2000s, stating:

“This scheme used to be called ‘Global Warming. Unfortunately, the earth did not warm for more than 18 years.”

Senator Olsen included a link to an article titled “40 New Scientific Papers Say Global Warming Does Not Exist,” which refers to climate change as a “hoax” and claims that recent temperature increases are “perfectly normal in a long-term historical context.” That view has been discredited by numerous scientific studies, which show that recent warming is anomalous.

Later in the newsletter, Senator Olsen suggested that the risks of climate change may have been exaggerated, stating:

“Climate change is the new catchphrase because it is works like a union roofers’ card. It covers everything. If it doesn’t rain, it must be climate change. If it is too hot, climate change. Not enough snow on the Mountains, Climate Change. If it is too cold, climate change. You get the picture.”