Even for those residing outside the state of Pennsylvania, state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe’s (R-Cranberry) name might sound familiar, after he overreacted to a male colleague touching his elbow by declaring his heterosexuality and love for his wife.
Or perhaps his name rings a bell from the time he suggested student protesters in favor of stricter gun laws were actually actors.
Now, Metcalfe is making headlines for another ridiculous ultra-conservative sound bite, this time regarding climate change: the Republican lawmaker is worried that fighting climate change will result in fewer vegetables — and he enjoys his vegetables.
The Pittsburgh City Paper reported that Metcalfe’s comments came during a committee hearing on a recently released report called Advancing Pennsylvania's Energy-Enabled Economy.
Because plants need carbon dioxide to survive, Metcalfe said curbing emissions could actually harm the planet.
“Just to be on record, I enjoy my vegetables, and plants need CO2, so I want to make sure we have plenty of CO2 out there so we have green grass and green vegetables growing,” said Metcalfe.
“We need CO2, we can’t eliminate all CO2. We are going to have an interesting debate for those that want to reduce something that is actually needed by our environment. And claiming that they are improving the environment.”
The Pittsburgh City Paper explained the flaw in Metcalfe’s logic:
"According to the Scientific American magazine, several climate scientists agree that theoretically more CO2 could increase production of agricultural plants. But sharp increases could also reduce nitrogen, which plants, especially wild ones, consume as food. (Plants use CO2 to breathe.)
"Additionally, more CO2 in the atmosphere has shown to raise global temperatures. And global temperatures rising quickly can have disastrous effects on plant life. The Scientific American states increased CO2’s 'negative consequences — such as drought and heat stress — would likely overwhelm any direct benefits that rising CO2 might offer plant life.'"
Metcalfe also went on to cheer the increased use of natural gas, which notably has helped decrease carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as it increases other greenhouse gases, such as methane.
“I think the average individual that is out there trying to heat their home in Philadelphia or in Pittsburgh is very thankful that natural gas has been developed so much in Pennsylvania,” he said.
But the Paper noted that even conservative news outlets like the Daily Caller have pointed to fracking’s role in reducing carbon emissions.
In 2017, the Daily Caller wrote: “Fracking has cut more CO2 emissions than all renewable energy combined.”
Metcalfe, who chairs the state House’s Environmental Resources & Energy committee, did not respond to a request for comment.