‘HOAX’…. Literally every Republican running for the U.S. Senate this year has a problem with climate science, but some are clearly more outrageous than others. All of them reject the evidence, but some are at least willing to concede climbing global temperatures, while balking at the causes.

But even within a group of global warming deniers, this is some pretty extreme stuff.

Colorado Republican Senate nominee Ken Buck has made his first public comments since Sunday, when he drew headlines for comparing being gay to alcoholism on Meet The Press. In a meeting with supporters Wednesday, Buck tried to put that comment behind him, and urged his backers to stay focused on the economy. Then he said global warming is a big ol’ hoax.

The Coloradoan reports that after the meeting with supporters in Fort Collins, CO, Buck was heading to a fundraiser featuring Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK).

“Sen. Inhofe was the first person to stand up and say this global warming is the greatest hoax that has been perpetrated,” Buck told The Coloradoan. “The evidence just keeps supporting his view, and more and more people’s view, of what’s going on.”

Now, it’s unnerving enough for right-wing candidates to simply reject science and reason out of hand, but once we get to the territory of “the greatest hoax that has been perpetrated,” we’re into some truly mind-numbing nonsense.

That his remarks come the same week as data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showing 2010 to be tied for “the warmest combined land and ocean surface temperature on record,” makes it all the more ridiculous.

I’m trying to imagine the scenario that exists in Buck’s mind. If he merely said the evidence is “inconclusive” or that he believes there’s competing data pointing in another direction, he’d merely be dangerously wrong. But Buck actually endorsed the idea of an elaborate “hoax” — suggesting he thinks there’s an international conspiracy involving countless governments, agencies, scientists, and universities, all of which have gotten together, in secret, to fool the entire planet about climate trends, for some unknown reason.

There’s literally no evidence of such a convoluted conspiracy — on the contrary, the evidence actually says global warming is real — but for Buck and Inhofe, it seems plausible anyway.

I haven’t been to Colorado in many years, but is this the sort of thing that plays well? A recent report from the National Conference of State Legislatures estimated that Colorado is likely to incur annually “more than $1 billion in losses due to impacts on tourism, forestry, water resources and human health from a predicted drier, warmer climate.”

Are locals prepared to risk a cataclysm based on Buck’s notion of a “hoax”?

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.