Kobach skeptical of climate science; other candidates call it a major policy concern

photo by: Thad Allton/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP, File

This combination of file photos shows Kansas gubernatorial candidates, from left: Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach; Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly; and Independent candidate, businessmen Greg Orman, who are running in the November 2018 election.

TOPEKA — Republican candidate for governor Kris Kobach said this week that he agrees that the Earth’s climate is changing, but he is skeptical about whether human activity is causing it, and whether it poses a major environmental concern.

“The Earth’s climate has been changing ever since the Earth was created,” Kobach said during an interview following a press conference Thursday. “The bigger question is what component of it is man-made. I don’t pretend to be a climate scientist, but I do believe the global-warming alarmists have overstated their case.”

His comments came on the heels of a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, that said the average temperatures on Earth have already risen by about 1 degree Celsius since about 1900.

It also said nations of the world need to work quickly to prevent temperatures from rising to 2 degrees above preindustrial levels in order to avoid dire environmental consequences.

It called for limiting temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which would mitigate some of those consequences. But to do that, the panel said, would require “rapid and far-reaching transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities.”

Other candidates in this year’s governor’s race said they believe human-induced climate change is real and that it presents significant policy challenges for the state.

“This is an issue that is significantly impacting Kansas farmers and ranchers more every year,” Democratic candidate Laura Kelly said in an email statement. “We’ve seen extreme weather, drought and fires that have hurt our agricultural community and families. We also have to address the issue of water that is critical to all our communities. It is important that we work together to balance the needs of our state and environment.”

Independent candidate Greg Orman said he also believes that human activity is causing climate change, and he said he believes it is possible to address the problem without harming the economy.

“The idea that we can have either a good economy or a good environment is a false choice,” he said in an email statement. “One of Kansas’ greatest strengths is its abundant [renewable] energy potential.”


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