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Rep. Lamar Smith, one of the most outspoken climate skeptics in Congress, will be retiring after his term ends in 2018.
Texas Republican Smith's retirement announcement was first reported by the Texas Tribune. Smith's office has confirmed the decision to BuzzFeed News.
"For several reasons, this seems like a good time to pass on the privilege of representing the 21st District to someone else," Smith wrote in an email obtained by the Tribune.
"At the end of this Congress, I will have completed my six-year term as chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee. I have one new grandchild and a second arriving soon! And I hope to find other ways to stay involved in politics. With over a year remaining in my term, there is still much to do. There is legislation to enact, dozens of hearings to hold and hundreds of votes to cast."
Smith has questioned the scientific consensus that humans are the primary driver of global warming.
And earlier this year, Smith led a secret science tour of the Arctic, according to a BuzzFeed News investigation. The trip was billed as an oversight visit for the science committee, and involved meeting with scientists, some of them researching climate change and its impacts, in Alaska and Greenland.
Smith did not comment on whether the trip changed his perspective on the issue. Then in July he published a bizarre and misleading editorial urging the world to focus on the supposed benefits of climate change.