Dem senator: There are ‘deniers’ on both sides of climate change debate

Dem senator: There are ‘deniers’ on both sides of climate change debate
© Greg Nash

There are “deniers” on both sides of the climate change debate, West Virginia Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Manchin on reported boos at Democratic luncheon: 'I heard a lot of nos' Schumer: Democrats 'on track' to pass bipartisan deal, .5T budget MORE (D) said on Friday.

Republicans who claim human activity hasn’t contributed to climate change — a scientific consensus doubted by GOP presidential front-runners Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Gosar's siblings pen op-ed urging for his resignation: 'You are immune to shame' Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate MORE and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzUp next in the culture wars: Adding women to the draft Biden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet 228 Republican lawmakers urge Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade MORE — are “deniers” of climate change, he said. 

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But Democrats and greens have “deniers” of their own, Manchin said at a conference hosted by The Wall Street Journal on Friday. 

“Even worse than that, we have deniers that believe we’re going to run this country or run this world without fossil,” he said. “That’s a worse denier, thinking they’re just going to just shift it and everything’s going to be hunky-dory.”

Both Democratic presidential candidates Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClintons, Stacey Abrams meeting Texas Democrats Biden says Russia spreading misinformation ahead of 2022 elections Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote MORE and Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Bipartisan infrastructure win shows Democrats must continue working across the aisle 'The land is us' — Tribal activist turns from Keystone XL to Line 3 MORE have vowed to move away from fossil fuels as president, though Sanders’s plan is more aggressive than Clinton's.

But Clinton raised the ire of coal country last month when she said she was “going to put a lot of coal companies and coal miners out of business” by transitioning to clean energy. Coal, long the dominant source of electricity generation in the U.S., has seen its share of the market fall as other sources of energy grow cheaper and regulations encourage the move toward renewable energy.

Fossil fuel groups and utilities have warned that transition will hurt the reliability of the electric grid, something Manchin said on Friday he is concerned about.

“My biggest concern is we don’t hear anybody talk about reliability [in the campaign],” he said. “Can you imagine what would happen if you start to have rolling blackouts or rolling brownouts or blackouts because the grid is not charged and there’s not enough energy in the grid system?”

But that doesn’t mean Manchin is ready to back a Republican for president. Asked which he would endorse first, Trump or a tax on carbon emissions, Manchin quoted Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham, Cuellar press Biden to name border czar Trump takes two punches from GOP The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands MORE (R-S.C.).

“As Lindsey Graham says, give me poison or give me a gun,” he said.