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Pete Buttigieg Explains the Difference Between Climate Change and Seasons to Republican Lawmaker

Pete Buttigieg Explains the Difference Between Climate Change and Seasons to Republican Lawmaker

Pete Buttigieg, Leaf, California Rep. Doug LaMalfa

Transportation secretary baffled by lawmaker’s insistence that seasons and climate change are the same.


In a surreal turn of events during a congressional hearing, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg found himself explaining basic climate science to California Rep. Doug LaMalfa after the Republican congressman conflated the season of autumn with the global issue of climate change on Wednesday.

The conversation started straightforwardly, with Buttigieg responding to a question about the percentage of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, expressing a fundamental and widely accepted point: “What I can tell you is that climate change is real. We got to do something about it.”

LaMalfa interjected, “Yeah. This one’s called autumn.”

The remark left many in the room scratching their heads, and Buttigieg, apparently taken aback, sought clarification, asking, “I’m sorry?”

LaMalfa doubled down, explaining his puzzling stance.

“This climate change right now is called autumn,” he declared.

Buttigieg then attempted to draw a clear line between the natural occurrence of seasonal changes and the long-term shifts that define climate change.

“Yeah. That’s the seasons changing, which respectively is not the same thing as the climate changing,” Buttigieg explained.

He went on to underscore the personal and profound implications of the climate crisis, noting, “As somebody who is hoping to retire in the 2050s and who has kids who will be old enough to ask me as they’re getting to their thirties, whether we did enough to deal with climate change or whether we just did what was convenient. I take that really seriously.”

But LaMalfa was unfazed.

Pivoting to a financial argument, LaMalfa expressed concerns about the potential economic impacts of addressing climate change, saying, “The trillions and trillions we’re going to cost our kids to chase a tiny percentage of CO2 will bankrupt all of us, bankrupt our economy, and ship it to China for all the other reasons. So I yield back.”

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