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Kentucky Republican refutes global warming, citing Mars' climate

Kentucky Republican state Sen. Brandon Smith has a new theory on why climate change just isn't happening.
NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is seen on Mars, June 23, 2014.
NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is seen on Mars, June 23, 2014.

Republican state Sen. Brandon Smith of Kentucky has a new theory on why climate change couldn’t possibly be slowly warming the earth’s temperature, resulting in legions of effects to the environment and its inhabitants

The reason, according to alternative paper LEO Weekly, seems to be that since Mars and Earth have identical temperatures, Earth's climate cannot possibly be the result of human activity. 

“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," said the senator in a video posted by the weekly publication. "Yet there are no coal mines on Mars. There are no factories on Mars that I’m aware of.” 

Smith sits on the Interim Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Environment and serves as Kentucky's Republican majority whip.

Despite the state senator's statement, academia does not in fact agree that the temperatures on Earth and Mars are the same: According to NASA, the average temperature on Mars is -58 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average temperature on Earth is 58 degrees Fahrenheit. Mars’ climate is notably uninhabitable to life as we know it.

And while there isn’t a coal industry on Mars, there is one in Hazard, Kentucky, which is in the district Smith represents. The city first boomed as a coal-mining town in the 1920s, and the industry still employs many people in the area. Coal has been known to be a powerful force in the state's politics.

Smith's spokesman sent msnbc a statement on behalf of the senator on Thursday. 

“I am dismayed by the agenda-driven dishonesty from which people approach the issue of climate change. Mischaracterizing the intent of my comments is just an attempt to distract from the fact that Barack Obama’s EPA policies are simply wrong for Kentucky," he said. 

Smith's spokesman said the senator misspoke when he likened Mars to Earth and that he was talking about climate change, not the climates themselves.

"Sen. Smith has said many times before that this is much bigger than one industry – that to blame coal alone is unreasonable. What we are experiencing is much bigger than that. The reference to Mars and Earth was to point out that both their temperatures are experiencing change. He simply left out the word change," the spokesman, Jodi Whitaker, said.

When Smith voiced this theory, he and others on the environmental committee were railing against the Environmental Protection Agency’s new carbon emissions ruling, which calls for power plants to cut their carbon emissions by 30% over the next sixteen years.