Climate

Mitch McConnell Attacks His Opponent For Answering Yes To: ‘Do You Believe In Climate Change?’

CREDIT: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Believe in the reality of climate change? In Kentucky’s Senate race, that could be grounds for attack, regardless of whether you intend to do anything about it. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s campaign appears to have saved a quote of his opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, saying she believes climate change is real along with a collection of other ‘negative’ remarks.

In a short YouTube clip posted by ‘Team Mitch Rapid Response’ on Thursday, Grimes answered the interview question: “Do you believe in climate change?” from Kentucky Sports Radio’s Matt Jones. “I do,” she said. “You know, Mitch McConnell and I differ on this. He still wants to argue with the scientists. I do believe it exists.” It bears mentioning that this is the same view held by 97 percent of climate scientists.

Team Mitch collected quotes from the same interview of Grimes talking about the economic benefits of marijuana and supporting closing the gun show loophole, among others that could be used against her. Those clips share the account with more explicitly disparaging videos, titles like ‘Alison Grimes Caught In Debate Lie’ and ‘Alison Grimes Can’t Name A Single Policy She Disagrees With Obama On.’

At the time of publication, McConnell’s press contact had not responded to a request regarding the clip’s inclusion in the Team Mitch Rapid Response collection.

It’s worth noting, however, that despite her stated belief in climate change, Grimes does not support efforts to curb its effect, and in fact touts her support for Kentucky’s coal industry on her website. In the ‘Issues’ section, she claims the Obama administration “has taken direct aim at Kentucky’s coal industry,” and says “our nation’s energy approach should rely heavily on coal, oil and natural gas, along with alternative sources of energy.”

Grimes has been consistent in stating that she believes in climate change, then using it to pivot to talk about clean coal (a misleading term) and keeping the coal industry competitive, with no mention of actually addressing the global warming that stems from burning fossil fuels. But as a significant portion of the GOP still refuse to acknowledge the settled science on climate change, even accepting it as a fact could now be worth attacking.

McConnell has consistently dismissed the reality of human-cuased climate change and has actively worked to block measures to address it. He’s publicly endorsed the idea that cold winters mean climate science is in question and that the reality will only be figured out over “decades and maybe centuries” because “30-35 years ago we were worried about the globe getting too cold.” And the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, a Karl Rove-linked group began an ad buy Friday to support Mitch McConnell’s protection of the coal industry from the “Obama’s war on coal”.

As Senate Majority Leader, McConnell also tried to use an unprecedented legislative tactic to stop the EPA’s regulations on carbon pollution.

Kentucky is currently joining eight other states and a prominent climate denier and coal company owner to sue the EPA over those regulations on carbon emissions from power plants. That’s despite the fact that Kentucky has it the easiest of virtually any state under the flexible new rule that takes its reliance on coal into account. Kentucky will only have to cut carbon emissions by 18.3 percent by 2030, compared to Washington state, which will have to cut by 72 percent. The proposed EPA regulations biggest action ever taken by a president to combat climate change.