Atlanta mayoral candidate gets in hot water over global warming

At a Buckhead mayoral forum, Atlanta councilman Kwanza Hall raised some eyebrows with an answer to a question about global warming.

Calling himself "kind of bit a conspiracy theorist," he said Tuesday he's skeptical of climate change.

"I got a question mark on the global warming thing," he said. "I do believe in sustainability. I'm a science-minded person and I have a science background. But stuff is in the media too much ... it's hard for me to be convinced some times."

Hall, one of about a dozen contenders seeking to succeed a term-limited Kasim Reed as mayor of Atlanta, went on to talk about the importance of conservation and a vibrant tree canopy in the city. But his opponents quickly piled on.

And former City Council President Cathy Woolard suggested he was tailoring his message to a conservative audience.

"Let me be clear. Climate change is real and so is the science that supports the claim," she posted on Facebook. "I won't equivocate on an issue depending on who I am speaking with during this campaign."

Hall later said in a lengthy statement he believes in "overwhelming scientific consensus that tells us that our planet is warming and it is caused by humans." He also pledged that in his administration, Atlanta would be powered by 100 percent clean energy by 2050.

Here's his full statement:

“I did not articulate where I am coming from clearly, at all. I believe in science and the overwhelming scientific consensus that tells us that our planet is warming and it is caused by humans burning fossil fuels. What I’m not sold on is the politicization of big issues like climate change. A lot of it is senseless propaganda and it comes from both sides.

"I fully embrace the role that the City of Atlanta will play in mitigating climate change, because the solutions all make sense for all sorts of other reasons: saving energy and water, developing renewable energy and making land use and transportation decisions that support transit, walking and bicycles. These solutions save people money and make people healthier.

"Moreover, I recognize that science won’t give us a “silver bullet” to answer to climate change--we need to bring all of our human capital to advance on this issue.

"Now that I have your attention, I pledge today that Atlanta will be powered by 100% clean energy by 2050. Today we put forward a big goal that will require cooperation, coordination and human capital development. We will not be satisfied by checking boxes on grant applications. We will measure our carbon reduction but even more importantly, we’ll measure the human and economic benefits that will truly be our milestones of success.”

Insider's note: This item was ripped and expanded from the Morning Jolt.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.