Henrico – Gaydonna Vandergriff, Republican challenger to Delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg (D-Henrico) in HD-72, believes the conversation on climate science is too “dramatic.”
In a forum hosted by the ChamberRVA Henrico Cabinet on Tuesday, Vandergriff answered a question on climate change by saying, “I just saw recently…a Time magazine article telling me that we’re all going to freeze to death and then almost the exact same cover design telling me no, we’re all going to burn up. We need to quit being so dramatic.”
According to NASA, “…the vast majority of actively publishing climate scientists – 97 percent – agree that humans are causing global warming and climate change. Most of the leading science organizations around the world have issued public statements expressing this…”
The image of a supposed TIME cover, purporting a coming ice age, that Vandergriff referenced has been proven to be a hoax. The actual TIME cover and story were about the very real effects of global warming.
Virginia Commonwealth University’s Capital News Service posted a video of Vandergriff’s response on Twitter.
“Not only did Ms. Vandergriff call 97 percent of climate scientists ‘dramatic,’ she perpetuated the harmful notion that legitimate and respected media outlets are ‘fake news’ by discrediting articles on climate change. Ironically, Ms. Vandergriff spread ‘fake news’ herself by referencing an internet hoax as if it were real,” said House Democratic Caucus communications director Kathryn Gilley. “Ms. Vandergriff’s skepticism of respected scientists and journalists is alarmingly out of touch with Henrico.”
Last year, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication published data on attitudes toward climate change, and found that in Henrico County specifically:
- 70 percent of residents believe global warming is happening, and 72 percent believe it will harm future generations
- 79 percent of residents support regulating CO2 as a pollutant
- 58 percent of residents say local officials should do more to address global warming
Many reports have detailed the serious impacts of climate change on Virginia, including that poorer air quality from warmer temperatures will exacerbate health issues like asthma, and that sea level rise and warming temperatures will negatively affect Virginia’s largest commercial industry, agriculture.
Delegate VanValkenburg responded to Vandergriff’s comments by stating, “The science is the science,” before addressing ways to protect Virginia from the harmful health and economic effects of climate change.