A Little Misstatement of Fact

In a speech last week condemning the Obama administration’s new Environmental Protection Agency carbon emission regulations, Kentucky state Sen. Brandon Smith (R) claimed that man-made climate change is scientifically implausible because Mars and Earth share “exactly” the same temperature. 

Smith, who owns a mining company called Mohawk Energy, argued that despite the fact that Mars doesn’t have any coal mines, Mars and Earth share a temperature. Therefore, Smith reasoned, coal companies on Earth should be exempt from emission regulations. 

During a Natural Resources and Environment Committee meeting Thursday, Smith, the Senate majority whip, said: 

“As you [Energy & Environment Cabinet officials] 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 won’t get into the debate about climate change but I’ll 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.”

According to NASA, the average temperature on Earth is 57 degrees Fahrenheit — 138 degrees above Mars’ average of -81 degrees.

Oviously, Smith’s understanding of the meaning the word, “exactly” is slightly off. But then, after all, he is a Republican, and that should give him license to skew the numbers a little bit. Or quite a bit, depending on how close to accurate you feel his numbers actually are.


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