Mehmet Oz goes full climate denial, says carbon dioxide isn’t a problem

Mehmet Oz, the famed physician turned GOP Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, stated Wednesday that carbon dioxide is not a climate problem because it makes up only a small portion of the air in Earth’s atmosphere, a long-standing topic of conversation among climate change deniers.

Oz made the comment during a forum in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he and his Republican rivals were asked how they, as US senators, would deal with rising energy prices. In a combative primaries, the political newcomer known for hosting a long-running daytime TV show has been criticized for his previous stance against fracking over health concerns, which his campaign has rejected.

Each of the candidates on the podium argued that Pennsylvania, one of the largest energy-producing states in the country, should tap into even more of its resources.

“As a scientist, I will tell you that the Green New Deal is a lie,” said Oz, who is a doctor, not a climate scientist. He referred to what is little more than a loose set of guiding principles to combat global climate change. “It’s not just unfair because we’re sacrificing our energy independence. In fact, we want more than energy independence, we want energy dominance.”

Then Oz launched a topic of conversation that would make even the most ardent climate deniers proud.

The “ideology that carbon is bad” is “a lie,” he said. “Carbon dioxide, my friends, is 0.04% of our air. That is not the problem.”

Carbon dioxide is definitely the problem when it comes to global warming. CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities are the main cause of climate change and are responsible for more than three quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Oz’s comment is one that climate deniers have been making for years, but it also falls just short of echoing another deniers’ favorite topic of conversation: that carbon dioxide emissions are “beneficial” for crop production and the planet’s lushness. .

On the campaign trail, Oz has portrayed himself as a longtime champion of the Pennsylvania gas industry. He’s posted videos of himself complaining about Biden’s energy policies while pumping gas, and he’s taken a particular liking to something he said people chanted at a Pennsylvania town hall earlier this month: “Back from Biden! Give us the freedom to fracking!”

But if HuffPost first reportedOz’s affinity for hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is new. As a TV celebrity doctor, Oz co-authored multiple Article warning its readers of the potential health and environmental risks associated with the drilling technique, which involves pumping a mixture of water, sand and chemicals under pressure into underground rock formations to release oil and natural gas. The practice is widespread throughout Pennsylvania.

At Wednesday’s forum, Dave McCormick, former hedge fund CEO, brought up Oz’s previous columns warning against fracking, whose campaign claims Oz were actually written by someone else.

“Mehmet, in your particular case, in your shows and in your columns, you’ve argued for more regulation of fracking,” McCormick said. “You’ve argued that fracking has health effects, and you’ve argued for a moratorium in Pennsylvania, as in New York.”

“That’s not true,” Oz interrupted. “That’s a lie and you know it’s a lie.”

In a 2014 Q&A on health and wellness, Oz and Dr. Mike Roizen, then the chief medical officer of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, that it was “a fact” that fracking is pumping “toxic chemicals” deep into the ground and advocated for states and municipalities to follow New York’s lead, which at the time had imposed a moratorium on fracking pending the outcome of a health study. In a 2015 part published in the right-wing news channel Newsmax with the title “Surprise! Fracking can cause birth defects,” the two highlighted the subsequent decision by then New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to permanently forbid fracking statewide, writing that the governor had “heard enough.” Oz and Roizen further called for legislation that would require “anyone who benefits from a fracking site to drink the local water.”

Oz and Roizen also wrote a column in 2017 on the many ways extreme heat, wildfires, floods and infectious disease outbreaks harm public health from climate-driven extreme heat.

Oz’s campaign has attempted to distance Oz from his previous medical columns, despite having his name on them, claiming that many of the views in them belonged entirely to Roizen.

“Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen have very different views on energy policy and fracking,” Brittany Yanick, the campaign’s communications director, told HuffPost earlier this month. “Dr. Roizen took over sole management of the daily column in 2009, and when they disagreed on the positions, he had to make it clear that he thought differently from Dr. Oz—these are clear examples that he didn’t.”

Wednesday’s forum, hosted by the Manufacturer and Business Association in Erie, marked the first time Oz and McCormick, the two frontrunners, appeared together at a public event, along with Republicans Jeff Bartos, a real estate developer, and Kathy Barnette, a conservative commentator.

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