GOP Candidate Says the Climate Bill Is Bad Because “We’ve Got Enough Trees”

Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker has attacked the Democrats for including spending on urban forestry in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) — despite the fact that the initiative could be crucial for pavement-heavy, poor urban neighborhoods that suffer disproportionately from extreme heat.

“They [Democrats] continue to try to fool you like they’re helping you out, but they’re not,” Walker said during an event on Sunday near Atlanta, Georgia, as first reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “They’re not helping you out, because a lot of the money is going into trees. You know that, don’t you? It’s going into trees. We’ve got enough trees. Don’t we have enough trees around here?”

Forestry advocates say that the forestry and conservation funding could be “tremendous” for forest management and sustainability in the U.S., with the dual benefit of creating and sustaining massive carbon sinks.

After receiving much derision for his comment, Walker doubled down on Twitter, outright lying about the IRA. “Yes, you heard me right,” he said. Democrats “are spending $1.5 billion on ‘urban forestry’ and raising taxes on those making under $200k to pay for it. Yes, I have a problem with that.”

$1.5 billion represents only about 0.3 percent of the bill’s $433 billion in new spending — an exceedingly small portion of the total amount.

The IRA does not directly raise taxes on people making less than $400,000 a year; in other words, Walker’s claim is false. The bill does place a minimum tax on corporations and gives funding to the Internal Revenue Service to enforce taxes on the rich, which Republicans have opposed and have also lied about.

It’s additionally untrue that the bill won’t directly help the public outside of its efforts to mitigate the climate crisis. Though much smaller than what progressives had advocated for last year, the bill still includes provisions like allowing Medicare to negotiate the prices of certain drugs to lower prices for beneficiaries.

Walker, a climate denier, has been caught lying many times over the course of his campaign, including claims that he previously worked in law enforcement and for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He has also lied about how many children he has, including to his own campaign. The Republican is running to unseat Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.

“The few policies Walker can articulate, like his support for a nationwide abortion ban and opposition to legislation to reduce drug costs for seniors, are harmful to Georgians,” Georgia Democratic Party spokesperson Dan Gottleib told The Washington Post. “But his inability to demonstrate even the most basic understanding of other key issues shows he isn’t ready to represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate.”

Indeed, Walker has made comments that have raised questions about his comprehension of crucial issues like the climate crisis. Last month, for instance, Walker said that he opposes proposals to address the climate crisis because the U.S. already has “good air” that doesn’t need cleaning. In a baffling remark, Walker stated that, though the U.S. has “good air,” China has “bad air” that the U.S. has to clean.

“Since we don’t control the air, our good air decided to float over to China’s bad air,” Walker said at a GOP event. “So when China gets our good air, their bad air’s got to move. So it moves over to our good air space. And now we’ve got to clean that back up.”