During his segment on MSNBC Tuesday, Hardball host Chris Matthews discussed the candidates for House Science Committee chairman.

Criticizing the scientific background of the three Republican applicants for the position, Matthews said it would appear “they’re vying for a post on the House Anti-science Committee.” Only a couple minutes later though, after detailing just why the candidates appear ignorant of scientific issues, Matthews made a little scientific mistake of his own, as News Busters’ Mark Findelstein pointed out.

Matthews brought up a comment by Rep. Dana Rohrabachrer (R-Calif.) at a U.N. climate change hearing where she said “is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rainforests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases?” He then responded: “Well, as we all learned in grammar school—younger people watching—trees absorb carbon monoxide.”

Although he’s technically correct, some plants can absorb carbon monoxide, the term Matthews was really looking to use is carbon dioxide. It’s a difference of CO versus CO2.

Carbon monoxide more notably is why some homes might have a special detector so the colorless, odorless gas doesn’t asphyxiate a family while they sleep. Here are some sources of household carbon monoxide, according to the EPA:

Unvented kerosene and gas space heaters; leaking chimneys and furnaces; back-drafting from furnaces, gas water heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces; gas stoves; generators and other gasoline powered equipment; automobile exhaust from attached garages; and tobacco smoke. Incomplete oxidation during combustion in gas ranges and unvented gas or kerosene heaters may cause high concentrations of CO in indoor air.

In addition to Rohrabachrer, the other contenders for the position include Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tx.), both of whom Matthews links to denalism of man-made global warming.

“Anyway, regardless of which of the bunch gets the chairmanship, they’re evidently not looking for, well, they’re not exactly looking up—things aren’t looking up for the Science Committee,” Matthews said ending the topic on the show.

Watch the clip:

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