Sen. Brandon Smith responds to criticisms in CJ op-ed after global warming comments go viral

07/15/2014 12:01 PM

State Sen. Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, is responding to national media outlets and Kentucky reporters after making an incorrect assertion that the climate on Earth is the same as the climate on Mars.

On Tuesday, Smith argued in the Courier-Journal that his comments were taken out of context, and his underlying assertion was that climate change is bigger than one industry only — the coal industry.

Pure Politics was at the Energy and Natural Resources Committee meeting on July 3 where legislators were asking about newly proposed regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency to limit overall carbon emissions in the country.

Smith did remark that he thought “what we’re looking at is something much greater than what we’re going to do.”

“I think if I ask you in front of these people whether or not shut down every single — anything that emitted CO2 in the state of Kentucky and completely shut it down if it would make one ounce of difference out here I’d say you’re answer is probably going to be no,” Smith told the assistant secretary for climate policy with the Energy and Environment Cabinet.

It was Smith’s comments on Mars which grabbed the attention of several publications including Slate which singled Smith out in a story titled: Stop Giving Time to Crackpots.

“As you sit there in your chair with your data we sit up here in ours with our data and our constituents and stuff behind us. I don’t want to get into the debate about climate change, but I will simply point out that I think in academia we all agree that the temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here. Nobody will dispute that. Yet there are no coal mines on Mars. There’s no factories on Mars that I’m aware of,” Smith said at the committee meeting.

The temperature on Mars is roughly -80° F, according to NASA.

In the op-ed printed Tuesday Smith says, “the clip many have seen only shows enough of the overall debate to make the viewer believe I’m saying something different. I am not asking you to believe me; that is entirely up to you. However, as always, there is more to this story that deserves to be told.”

Here is more of the global warming debate which took place during the committee meeting (including Sen. Smith’s comments as well as Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington, and Rep. Jim Gooch, D-Providence) for context:

For more on the overall meeting you can re-read the discussion the committee had on the newly proposed regulations here .


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