Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) gave an utterly bizarre speech on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon mocking the Green New Deal by invoking an image from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
Lee presented an image of Luke Skywalker riding a tauntaun - the camelesque animal on Hoth that Skywalker slaughtered to shelter Han Solo - to make an argument against adopting climate-friendly policies.
“I rise today to consider the Green New Deal, with the seriousness it deserves,” Lee said. “In a future without air travel, how are we supposed to get around the vast expanses of, say, Alaska, during the winter? I’ll tell you how. Tauntauns, Mr. President.”
Despite ruining Empire, Lee might be onto something. In the future, Balto and his canine buddies might be extinct due to climate change. But I digress.
“Not only are Tauntauns carbon-neutral,” Lee continued, “but according to a report a long time ago and issued far, far away, they may even be fully recyclable and usable for their warmth on a cold night.”
Lee did not offer any evidence to support his claim about tauntauns and their hypothetical carbon footprint.
Lee and the climate-denying GOP might not think that climate change deserves to be taken seriously (they are the only major political party in the world who refuse to accept the science), but the rest of the planet certainly does.
According to the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), located on Earth, humanity has about 12 years to change its habits or we risk irreversible climate catastrophe. Their latest report aligns with thousands of studies and reports going back decades warning about the hazards of continued carbon pollution.
Nevertheless, Lee's tenuous analogy was noticed by Mark Hamill, who starred as Skywalker in the Star Wars saga, and he struggled to accept that this really happened.
"Please tell me this is photoshopped," Hamill tweeted.
Nope. It is real, and there is a force at work, for sure.
Lee's joke stinks.
Though maybe he was going for some cosmic whataboutism.
People are frustrated - not only with Congress's lack of meaningful action on climate change but with Republicans' belligerent denial of the facts as well.
Those fossil fuel bucks are sweet, man.
Here is an excerpt latest from the IPCC because facts matter.
"The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air."
A global increase of two degrees Celsius is considered by most scientists to be a 'point of no return' for the climate. Estimates from the Trump administration predict a rise in global temperatures by as much as 4C by the end of the century if humanity continues to dump carbon into the environment at our current rate.
Incidentally, the Senate held a symbolic vote on the Green New Deal - which is really just a set of goals, not policy - Tuesday afternoon. It failed. Go figure.