Illustrating the GOP's ongoing refusal to do anything about the existential threat posed by the global climate crisis, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters in Kentucky Monday—and just in time for the holidays—that climate change is "a concern that we all have" but offered nothing resembling a concrete proposal to confront the emergency.
"Well, I think that climate change is real and it's a concern that we all have," McConnell said when asked what the Senate plans to do about the climate crisis under his leadership. "And the issue is whether you tackle it through technological innovation or by clamping down on the economy. And clearly I think the reason this country has made more progress than most is technological innovation."
"Okay, Merry Christmas everyone," the Republican leader added, concluding the press conference.
A reporter in Kentucky asked Mitch McConnell what the Senate is planning to do about global warming.
"I think climate change is real," McConnell said, but he suggested it shouldn't be tackled by "clamping down on the economy." He did not say what the Senate will do. pic.twitter.com/krya7xWDQe
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 23, 2019
On Twitter, writer A.R. Moxon dismissed McConnell's suggestion that transitioning the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels would come at the expense of technological innovation.
"This is beyond insane, not just from a human perspective but from an economic perspective," Moxon said of McConnell's remarks. "Meeting the challenge of climate emergency will pretty obviously invigorate the economy. McConnell's not protecting the economy. He's stalling while his friends loot the safe."
"What McConnell, Trump, and the entire Republican Party are doing right now is ignoring a massive opportunity for economic innovation and growth to defend a handful of donors and a system they know is unsustainable," Moxon added.
Supporters of a Green New Deal, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), have framed bold climate action as a historic opportunity to create millions of well-paying jobs while staving off the catastrophic effects of a warming planet.
"The climate crisis is the greatest challenge facing humanity. It's also our single greatest opportunity to build a just and equitable future," Sanders said after unveiling his Green New Deal plan in August. "We are going to create 20 million jobs and an economy that works for all."
McConnell, meanwhile, has mocked the Green New Deal and attempted to use it to divide the Democratic Party on climate action. In March, McConnell rushed a Senate floor vote on the Green New Deal resolution introduced by Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a move environmentalists condemned as a "shameful" attempt to slow momentum for bold climate solutions.
The resolution failed in a 0-57 vote, with Republicans uniting against the measure and most Democrats voting present to show their opposition to McConnell's "sham."
"His cynical ploy backfired, and showed just how out of touch Mitch McConnell and GOP senators are with ordinary Americans," Varshini Prakash, executive director of the youth-led Sunrise Movement, said in a statement following the vote. "Americans are demanding solutions like never before, and Republicans are showing them they have nothing to offer."