Senate Minority Leader U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell answers questions during a press conference at the University of Louisville on Nov. 5, 2014 in Louisville, Ky.
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Mitch McConnell’s ‘serious look at the science’

It was just last month when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sat down with the editorial board of the Cincinnati Enquirer, which raised the question of global warming. McConnell said he doesn’t know whether or not climate change is real because – let’s all say it together – “I’m not a scientist.”
But that was last month. Today, McConnell has discovered that he’s a science enthusiast after all. Rebecca Leber reported this morning:
In remarks on the Senate floor, hours before a vote on a bill that fast-tracks construction of the [Keystone XL pipeline], McConnell pointed to the “science” supporting the legislation.
“Those who took a serious look at the science and the potential benefits reached the conclusion long ago,” he said Tuesday. “They understand that the whole drama over Keystone has been as protracted as it is unnecessary. We hope to turn the page on all of that today.”
Oh, I see. When Republicans want an oil pipeline, it’s incumbent on policymakers to take “a serious look at the science.”
But when policymakers are asked to address a global climate crisis, a political party is comfortable playing dumb?
Let’s also note that McConnell’s assumption that the debate is one-sided is itself dubious. Brad Plumer recently noted the case from environmentalists:
Green groups … They point out that producing oil from Canada’s tar sands is a particularly energy-intensive process that leads to 17 percent more carbon dioxide than regular oil production does over the entire life-cycle. That, in turn, will exacerbate global warming – especially at a time when the world will likely need to leave much of its existing oil, gas, and coal reserves underground if we want to avoid drastic climate change.
Better to leave the tar sands oil in the ground, green groups say, and start shifting toward cleaner energy alternatives.
And yes, environmentalists have taken “a serious look at the science.”