Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) tore into the Green New Deal on Tuesday, stating on the Senate floor that the only thing needed to combat climate change is for Americans to “fall in love” and have “more babies.”
Lee, who has expressed doubt before over the climate science finding that human activity is the main driver of global warming, bashed a resolution laying out the tenets of the Green New Deal. The congressional resolution was introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) last month.
“I’m not immediately afraid of what carbon emissions unaddressed might do to our environment in the near future, or our civilization or our planet in the next few years,” Lee said during a Senate debate. “I’m mostly afraid of not being able to get through this speech with a straight face.”
“I rise today to consider the Green New Deal with the seriousness it deserves,” he said tongue-in-cheek, before displaying a series of fantastical images on a nearby easel meant to suggest that the Democrats’ proposal shouldn’t be taken seriously at all.
One of the pictures featured a cartoon image of former President Ronald Reagan firing a machine gun while riding a velociraptor.
The Green New Deal is a set of policy proposals focused on job creation through the development of the U.S. renewable energy sector. The plan aims to ensure that all Americans have “a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security.”
The resolution also seeks to reduce greenhouse gases emitted by the agricultural sector ― factory farms account for a large percentage of methane emissions ― but it does not call for the elimination of cows, as many Republicans have claimed. Critics of the proposal also falsely contend that it calls for a ban on airplanes.
Lee displayed an image of “Star Wars” hero Luke Skywalker riding a tauntaun on the icy planet of Hoth, jokingly suggesting that Alaskans would have to ride the snow-adapted creatures because of Green New Deal air travel restrictions. He then showed a picture of superhero Aquaman riding a giant seahorse, suggesting that Hawaiians would need to ride them to reach the mainland for the same reasons.
“Climate change is no joke but the Green New Deal is a joke,” Lee said. “It is the legislative equivalent of Austin Powers’ Dr. Evil demanding sharks with frickin’ lasers on their heads.”
So what’s the best way to combat climate change? “Babies,” Lee declared.
“The solution to climate change won’t be found in political posturing or virtue signaling,” he said. “It won’t be found in the federal government at all. You know where the solution can be found? ... In churches, in wedding chapels, in maternity wards across the country and around the world.”
His anti-science word salad continued:
Climate change is an engineering problem ― not social engineering but the real kind. It’s a challenge of creativity, ingenuity and most of all, technological innovation. And problems of human imagination are not solved by more laws; they’re solved by more humans.
More babies will mean forward-looking adults, the sort we need to tackle long-term large-scale problems. American babies, in particular, are likely going to be wealthier, better educated and more conservation-minded than children raised in still industrializing countries.
Children are a mark of the kind of personal, communal and societal optimism that is the true prerequisite for meeting national and global challenges together. The courage needed to solve climate change is nothing compared with the courage needed to start a family.
The true heroes of this story aren’t politicians and they aren’t social media activists ― they’re moms and dads and the little boys and girls that they are at this very moment putting down for naps or helping with their homework, building treehouses and teaching them how to tie their shoes.
Lee concluded his nearly 15-minute speech by bizarrely claiming that the solution to almost every problem in the world is to “fall in love, get married and have some kids.”
Ocasio-Cortez quickly fired back at Lee on Twitter, mocking his eyebrow-raising remarks.
“If this guy can be Senator, you can do anything,” she tweeted.
The Democratic freshman lawmaker wasn’t the only high-profile figure to weigh in on Twitter. Actor Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, bashed Lee’s use of his image.
“I was foolish to think this was photoshopped,” he tweeted. “Had I recognized that this guy was a Republican, I would have instantly realized this was his argument against Global Warming.”
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