GOP VP Candidate Paul Ryan, Avowed Climate Denier

As if all the pro-oil and coal influence on his economic team isn’t enough, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has chosen an avowed climate change denier as his vice presidential running mate.

As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan is best-known for drafting a budget that retains $40 billion in oil industry tax breaks and the Defense budget while cutting funds for pretty much everything else including clean energy research, development and deployment.

Selecting Ryan reinforces Romney’s anti-clean energy stance, for now centered on his desire to eliminate the wind production tax credit (PTC) after it expires in December 2012.

What are Ryan’s other views on cleantech and environmental-related issues? 

This article, written by Forecast the Facts and first published on ThinkProgress, outlines some of Ryan’s historical positions related to energy efficiency and advanced research, EPA regulations and climate change.

By Brad Johnson, Forecast the Facts

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential pick, is a virulent denier of climate science, with a voting record to match.

favorite of the Koch brothers, Ryan has accused scientists of engaging in conspiracy to “intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.” He has implied that snow invalidates global warming.

Ryan has voted to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from limiting greenhouse pollution, to eliminate White House climate advisers, to block the U.S. Department of Agriculture from preparing for climate disasters like the drought devastating his home state, and to eliminate the Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E):

Paul Ryan Promoted Unfounded Conspiracy Theories About Climate Scientists. In a December 2009 op-ed during international climate talks, Ryan made reference to the hacked University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit emails. He accused climatologists of a “perversion of the scientific method, where data were manipulated to support a predetermined conclusion,” in order to “intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.” Because of spurious claims of conspiracy like these, several governmental and academic inquiries were launched, all of which found the accusations to be without merit. [Paul Ryan, 12/11/09]

Paul Ryan Argued Snow Invalidates Global Warming Policy. In the same anti-science, anti-scientist December 2009 op-ed, Ryan argued, “Unilateral economic restraint in the name of fighting global warming has been a tough sell in our communities, where much of the state is buried under snow.” Ryan’s line is especially disingenuous because he hasn’t been trying to sell climate action, he’s been spreading disinformation. [Paul Ryan, 12/11/09] 

Paul Ryan Voted To Eliminate EPA Limits On Greenhouse Pollution. Ryan voted in favor of H.R. 910, introduced in 2011 by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas pollution. [Roll Call 249, 4/7/11]

Paul Ryan Voted To Block The USDA From Preparing For Climate Change. In 2011, Ryan voted in favor of the Scalise (R-LA) Amendment to the FY12 Agriculture Appropriations bill, to bar the U.S. Department of Agriculture from implementing its Climate Protection Plan. [Roll Call 448, 6/16/11]

Paul Ryan Voted To Eliminate White House Climate Advisers. Ryan voted in favor of Scalise (R-LA) Amendment 204 to the 2011 Continuing Resolution, to eliminate the assistant to the president for energy and climate change, the special envoy for climate change (Todd Stern), and the special adviser for green jobs, enterprise and innovation. [Roll Call 87, 2/17/11] 

Paul Ryan Voted To Eliminate ARPA-E. Ryan voted in favor of Biggert (R-IL) Amendment 192 to the 2011 Continuing Resolution, to eliminate the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E). [Roll Call 55, 2/17/11]

Paul Ryan Voted To Eliminate Light Bulb Efficiency Standards. In 2011, Ryan voted to roll back light-bulb efficiency standards that had reinvigorated the domestic lighting industry and that significantly reduce energy waste and carbon pollution. [Roll Call 563, 7/12/11]

Paul Ryan Voted For Keystone XL. In 2011, Ryan voted to expedite the consideration and approval of the construction and operation of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. [Roll Call 650, 7/26/11] 

Paul Ryan Budget Kept Big Oil Subsidies And Slashed Clean Energy Investment. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed FY 2013 budget resolution retained a decade’s worth of oil tax breaks worth $40 billion, while slashing funding for investments in clean energy research, development, deployment, and commercialization, along with other energy programs. The plan called for a $3 billion cut in energy programs in FY 2013 alone. [CAP, 3/20/12] 

In short, Paul Ryan stands with Big Oil against scientific fact and the future of human civilization.


Brad Johnson is campaign manager for Forecast the Facts, an organization focused on sharing scientific information related to climate change and the human impact on global warming.

This column originally appeared on Climate Progress:

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Comments on “GOP VP Candidate Paul Ryan, Avowed Climate Denier”

  1. lighthouse

    Well, he is right about the light bulbs:
    Whatever one thinks about energy savings, light bulb regulations are an irrelevant token measure
    to achieve it, a fraction of 1% of US energy use and at night much the same coal is burned anyway, for operational reasons
    How light bulb bans are wrongly justified
    13 points, referenced

  2. BevTMaine

    People need to note the hypocrisy of his “pro-life” stance with his total disavowal of one of the most profound planetary problems we’ve yet faced. Ryan is an incurious mouthpiece for corporations that demonstrate one concern–their bottom line. Oil and gas megacorps like Exxon Mobile have no ethical core. Apparently Paul Ryan doesn’t, either.

  3. Jim C.

    I’d like to see wind turbine tax breaks gone, at least for the large models. They are a growing blight on the landscape. Solar makes a lot more sense.

    Also, you’d think a skier would care about global warming. Does he think “God” controls winter conditions? Heavy snowfalls caused by greater evaporation get a lot of air-time, but dearth of snow is a looming crisis, for cities that depend on snowpack melt.


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