Ed Markey says Republicans ‘mock flatulence to deflect from facts’ on climate change

The Massachusetts senator said it "turns out *makes fart noise* has been" their response for years.

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 07:  U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) (R) speaks as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) (2nd L) and other Congressional Democrats listen during a news conference in front of the U.S. Capitol February 7, 2019 in Washington, DC. Sen. Markey and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez held a news conference to unveil their Green New Deal resolution. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Sen. Ed Markey speaks as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other congressional Democrats listen during a news conference last week in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. –Alex Wong / Getty Images

Sen. Ed Markey says that Republicans’ mocking response to the Green New Deal framework that he and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently introduced is nothing new — particularly when it comes to flatulence.

Yes, flatulence.

Markey and Ocasio-Cortez unveiled the ambitious climate change resolution last week, which calls for a massive jobs program aimed toward reducing the United States’ carbon footprint to zero by 2030 and meeting 100 percent of the country’s energy needs through “clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources,” like wind and solar.

The resolution was quickly embraced by dozens of fellow Democratic lawmakers; however, some political opponents pounced on a since-retracted, informally written “frequently asked questions” document distributed by Ocasio-Cortez’s office. One line — explaining why the Green New Deal set a goal of “net zero” emissions rather than absolute zero emissions — off-handedly referencing “farting cows” invited the most mockery.


“We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast,” the document said.

The line became a punching bag for everyone from Fox News to President Donald Trump, who erroneously claimed during a rally Monday that, under the Green New Deal, “you’re not allowed to own cows anymore.”

Markey says Republicans are distracting from the serious debate over how to address the ever-pressing issue of climate change and told reporters earlier this week to “focus on the resolution,” rather than the factsheet.

“The #GreenNewDeal has Republicans obsessively talking about cow flatulence,” the Massachusetts senator tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “But it’s nothing new.”

Markey noted that the late Justice Antonin Scalia even referenced “flatulence” in his dissent to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling on the federal government’s authority to regulate automobile emissions.

“Turns out *makes fart noise* has been the right wing’s on-record response to climate change since at least 2007,” Markey wrote.

“But this is the decades-long Republican playbook on climate change – mock and debase the debate in the face of an existential threat to humanity that could devastate millions and cost trillions,” he continued. “They mock flatulence to deflect from facts.”


A United Nations-backed report last fall said that there “is no documented historic precedent” for the massive changes to the world’s energy and transportation systems required to keep global warming below dangerous levels.

Markey also took Sen. Mitch McConnell to task on social media this week for the Republican Senate majority leader’s plan to hold a vote on the Green New Deal, which Democrats say is a bad-faith stunt tactic aimed at embarrassing or dividing the party. McConnell pulled a similar move amid calls by some Democrats to “Abolish ICE.”

The current Green New Deal resolution introduced last week, however, is a framework resolution, and experts say there are a number of details left to be worked out before passing it into law.

“This isn’t a new Republican trick,” Markey tweeted Tuesday, referring to McConnell’s call for a vote.

“By rushing a vote on the #GreenNewDeal resolution, Republicans want to avoid a true national debate & kill our efforts to organize,” he said. “We’re having the first national conversation on climate change in a decade. We can’t let Republicans sabotage it.”