Rand PaulClimate and energy issues barely registered in this month’s primary coverage, but Rand Paul (son of Ron) saw fit to take on the Copenhagen climate talks after becoming the Republican Senate candidate in Kentucky last night.

“We have a president who went to Copenhagen and appeared with Robert Mugabe, Hugo Chávez and others — Evo Morales — to apologize for the Industrial Revolution,” he said. “These petty dictators say that to stop climate change it’s about ending capitalism. The president, by attending Copenhagen, gives credibility and credence to these folks, and he should not go.”

Reality check: Obama supports a market-based (i.e. capitalist) response to climate change — cap-and-trade. That’s the policy he backed in Copenhagen. He joined more than 100 heads of state there and didn’t show any love to Mugabe, Chávez, or Morales. In fact, when Bolivian president Morales boycotted the Copenhagen Accord reached last December, Obama’s State Department withdrew climate adaptation funding from the country.

Sounds like we can look forward to more nuanced discussions of who’s for and against the Industrial Revolution.

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A few other notes from last night’s election:

  • Paul’s victory gives Democratic candidate Jack Conway a swinging chance in typically red Kentucky, according to Internet Speculation. Actually, Salon’s Alex Pareene points out that both Conway and his Democratic opponent got more votes in Tuesday’s primary than Paul, which suggests Kentucky isn’t entirely excited about a Paul-style libertarian rEVOLution. And while Conway, who currently serves as Kentucky’s attorney general, professes his love for Kentucky coal, he sounds like he could be a potential “yes” vote for a Senate clean-energy bill.
  • In Pennsylvania’s rather conservative 12th Congressional District, Democrat Mark Critz decisively beat Republican Tim Burns in a special election. That’s good news for Democrats but bad news for cap-and-trade, Michael Levi notes, as Critz loudly opposed the climate policy and professed his love for Pennsylvania coal.
  • Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln failed to win a majority in the Democratic primary and faces a runoff against challenger Bill Halter. A while back we summarized her dismal environmental record and his blank slate on green issues.


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