GOP lawmaker holds onto climate change skepticism

"One Berkeley professor flip-flopping his opinion on global warming doesn't create any kind of consensus on this issue, and there's still vast amount of disagreement throughout the scientific community on the causes of climate change,” said Scalise, who sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “In fact, recent scientific data shows that the earth is currently in a cooling period, and it's predicted that it will continue to cool over the next 20 years.”

But between 97 and 98 percent of publishing climate researchers believe climate change is real, according to an oft-cited 2010 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Record-high temperatures, a deep drought and widespread wildfires have helped bring climate change back in focus in recent weeks.

Democratic senators wielded that study at the Environment and Public Works hearing last week, with coastal state Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) expressing particular concern about what rising sea levels associated with climate change would do to their states.

Rising coastal waters concerns much of Louisiana’s populated southern regions, such as New Orleans, especially after Hurricane Katrina devastated the region in 2005. Scalise’s Louisiana district contains some northern New Orleans suburbs, but only a small portion of it borders the Gulf of Mexico.