Mike Pence seems reluctant to say that the human-induced climate crisis is a threat to US national security at the end of a week in which the Trump administration rolled back Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
What I will tell you is that we will always follow the science on that in this administration,” the vice-president said when he faced CNN State of the Union host Jake Tapper’s first posing of the question.
Tapper responded: “The science says it is.”
Pence said: “But what we won’t do, and the Clean Power Plan was all about that, was hamstringing energy in this country, raising the cost of utility rates for working families across this country.”
Tapper interjected: “But is it a threat?”
Pence remain unanswered to the interjection; instead, complained that “other nations like China and India absolutely do nothing or make illusory promises decades down the road.” He boasts of the US focus on natural gas and “clean coal technology.”
Tapper persevered: “But is what people are calling a climate emergency, is it a threat? Do you think it is a threat, manmade climate emergency is a threat?”
Pence said: “I think the answer to [that] is going to be based upon the science.”
Tapper insisted “the science says yes” and told the vice-president “the science community in your own administration, at [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] at the [Director of National Intelligence], they all say it is a threat … but you won’t, for some reason.”
“Look,” said Pence. “What the president has said, what we have said is that we’re not going to raise utility rates.”
Tapper persisted: “But is it not a threat?”
Pence also criticized the Obama-era rule-the Clean Power Plan which was rolled back by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday, thereby yet again relaxing the controls on carbon dioxide admissions from coal-fired power stations.
Pence also swiped Green New Deal, a package of proposed legislation which as per Democrats including the prominent New York progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would consolidate the US economy as they worked toward reducing the climate crisis effects. However, according to Republicans, it could be financially disastrous.
Tapper tried once more: “OK. So you don’t think it is a threat, is all I’m saying? You don’t think it is a threat?”
Pence said: “I think we’re making great progress reducing carbon emissions. America has the cleanest air and water in the world…”
Tapper interrupted, laughing: “That is not true. We don’t have the cleanest air and water in the world. We don’t.”
Pence said: “OK.”
Tapper asked him to “get back to me with some statistics that show it.”
Pence could refer to the study of the Environmental Performance Index, a joint initiative of Yale and Columbia universities and the World Economic Forum. It has ranked the US joint-first globally on drinking water parameter. However, the same index also ranks America 10th and 29th in the world for air quality, and water and sanitation combined, respectively.
Pence insisted saying the Trump administration was “making progress on reducing carbon emissions. We’re doing it through technology, through natural gas, through continuing to support … nuclear energy, clean energy.
“The answer, though, is not to raise the utility rates of millions of utility rate payers across the country.”
Tapper finally had to give up, and he carried on the interview asking the Vice President a different question, this time about the Russian election interference.