mark hertsgaard

Independent Journalist & Author


Who Is Your Least Favorite Climate Crank on Capitol Hill?

Who is YOUR (least) favorite climate crank on Capitol Hill?

It’s a crowded field, but Mark Hertsgaard, author of HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth, lists his Top 5 cranks below.

Add your comments, make your own nominations, and Mark and his Generation Hot teammates will carry your message to Capitol Hill next Tuesday, February 15, when they “Confront the Climate Cranks.”

  • Senator James Inhofe. Representing the oil-and-gas state of Oklahoma, Inhofe is the godfather of all congressional climate cranks. Most famous for opining that man-made global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” Inhofe has urged criminal prosecution of mainstream climate scientists.
  • Speaker of the House John Boehner. In 1995, Rep. Boehner was caught handing out campaign contributions from the tobacco industry on the House floor. He apologized. Now he should apologize again for his party’s championing of another industry that lies about science–the fossil fuel interests that deny climate change.
  • Representative Fred Upton. Climate denial became a litmus test for Republican candidates in 2010 and there is no better example than Upton, the new chair of the House Energy Committee. After calling climate change “a serious problem” in 2009, the Michigan Republican now praises Inhofe’s bill to repeal the EPA’s scientific finding that greenhouse gases threaten human health. Maybe “Repeal Science” should be the Republican campaign motto in 2012.
  • Representative John Shimkus. Climate change poses no danger, says this Illinois Republican, because God has promised “the Earth will not be destroyed by a flood.” Adding that the Bible is the “infallible” word of God, Shimkus echoes the same rationale the Vatican advanced in 1633 when it forced Galileo to recant his heretical assertion that the earth moves around the sun.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Like Speaker Boehner, McConnell is a dear friend of the tobacco as well as the fossil fuel industry. (The Kentucky Republican has received more tobacco industry money than any politician on Capitol Hill.) “Where’s Al Gore now?” taunted McConnell when a snowstorm blanketed Washington in 2009–demonstrating once again how ignorant cranks are of actual climate science, which of course says such extreme weather is exactly what climate change brings.


4 Responses to “Who Is Your Least Favorite Climate Crank on Capitol Hill?”

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by HMH Trade, Joel Finkelstein. Joel Finkelstein said: So hard to pick just one! Join us next week confronting the #climatecranks […]

  • Jackie Gamble says:

    Tell them about the Arctic peoples who can no longer hunt because the ice is gone. Or the millenia-old glaciers of the Andes that are melting away and threatening water supplies. Evil tools of evil forces. That’s what these guys are.

  • Richard Weinstein says:

    I think Inhofe is probably the worst – or at least the most dangerous or influential.

    I’m starting to think that if hitting them with undeniable truth/science/facts won’t work, then perhaps we should shift the focus and start hitting them with the ECONOMIC argument (both short term and long term) since that seems to be the language they speak and understand. (That is, I’m starting to think that the real root source of their “denial” is not a refusal to accept the science but rather a reluctance to introduce policy that MAY – or may not – have a short-term impact on the economy.)

    By the way: I love your introduction of the term “climate crank.” That needs to be publicized and adopted en masse as the term of choice for these people.

    (By the way II: I also enjoyed your book on The Beatles.)

  • “Climate change poses no danger, says this Illinois Republican, because God has promised “the Earth will not be destroyed by a flood.”

    No more water, the fire next time.

    I wish you every success in confronting the climate cranks next week – something that really needs to be done. I wish I could be there with you, but I look forward to seeing the videos instead.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Book


By now, almost everyone knows what Edward Snowden did: leak top secret documents revealing that the US government was spying on hundreds of millions of people around the world. But if you want to know why Snowden did it, the way he did it, you need to know the stories of two other men.

The first is Thomas Drake, who blew the whistle on the very same surveillance ten years before Snowden did and got crushed. The other is The Third Man, a former senior Pentagon official who comes forward in this book for the first time to describe how his superiors repeatedly broke the law to punish Drake—and unwittingly taught Snowden how to evade their clutches.

Pick up your copy at: | Barnes & Noble

About Mark

Independent journalist Mark Hertsgaard is the author of seven books that have been translated into sixteen languages, including Bravehearts: Whistle Blowing in the Age of Snowden; HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth; and A Day in the Life: The Music and Artistry of the Beatles. He has reported from twenty-five countries about politics, culture and the environment for leading outlets, including The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Time, Mother Jones, NPR, the BBC and The Nation, where is the environment correspondent. He lives in San Francisco.