Brown, from Ignacio, made his comment during an evening debate before the full House, speaking to colleagues from a podium at the front of the chamber.
Lawmakers were discussing legislation that would require the Public Utilities Commission to consider greenhouse gas emissions when contemplating a utility’s electric proposals.
The remark raised eyebrows.
Later that evening, Brown told The Durango Herald that he is skeptical as to the cause of climate change.
“We continue to have climate change, I just question whether it’s man-made,” Brown said.
The film premiered in theaters for one day on Monday, when Brown saw it. Future releases are expected and trailers are available online at ClimateHustleMovie.com.
“‘Climate Hustle’... reveals the history of climate scares, including global cooling; debunks outrageous claims about temperatures, extreme weather and the so-called ‘consensus’; exposes the increasingly shrill calls to ‘act immediately before it’s too late,’ and in perhaps the film’s most important section, profiles key scientists who used to believe in climate alarm but have since converted to skepticism,” reads an explanation of the film on the movie’s website.
The film has been promoted by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
It was financed by the conservative Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, and was written and narrated by Marc Morano, a high-profile climate change skeptic.
Morano, who began his career working for conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, runs the CFACT-funded blog ClimateDepot.com, which posts information often denying climate change is human-made.
The film caught the attention of late-night talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel, who lambasted Palin during “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” on Monday, stating, “The idea that she knows more than 97 percent of scientists is offensive, it’s dangerous.”
Kimmel was referring to the fact that 97 percent of scientists published in peer-reviewed journals say climate change is real and caused by human activities.
Brown defended the film, stating: “These scientists (in the film) are saying that carbon dioxide is a good thing, that it’s actually fertilizing plants, and I think we just need to look at the science. This documentary says that, actually, we’re short on carbon dioxide compared to other times in world history.”
While carbon dioxide is vital to life, most scientists point out that it’s the increase of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere that’s the problem.
Colorado environmental groups had harsh words for Brown, calling his comments “baffling.”
“It’s an incredibly out-of-touch statement from a legislator whose district continues to have major challenges with air pollution,” said Jessica Goad, spokeswoman for Conservation Colorado. “Politicians like Rep. Brown, who flat-out deny that climate change is occurring, risk their own credibility, especially in the eyes of voters.”
The issue could play out during Brown’s re-election bid this year against retired Durango teacher Barbara McLachlan, who responded: “When did science become a belief system?”