By Maria Lovato
In a post on his campaign website from April 15, 2001, Vice President Mike Pence wrote that “global warming is a myth” and warned that environmentalists were using global warming as a scare tactic to increase government power and raise taxes. He said that greenhouse gases were the result of “volcanoes, hurricanes and underwater geologic displacements.” He said the Earth was cooler in 2001 than it was 50 years earlier and that “climatologists agree” that global warming can’t be proven.
Then, in last week’s vice-presidential debate, Pence admitted that “the climate is changing,” but said the real issue is, “what is the cause and what do we do about it.”
Causes of climate change are well established and there are many concrete plans, backed up by science, on how to combat it. While Pence has certainly refined his rhetoric surrounding climate change since his 2001 post, his comments at the debate reveal that he is still a climate change denier, just one with more media training. And at the Senate confirmation hearings this week to consider Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court, Barrett used the same kind of evasive answer to avoid recognizing climate change as a real threat.
“I’ve read things about climate change,” Barrett said Tuesday. “I would not say I have firm views on it.”
But the facts are unavoidable. The global temperature has risen two degrees since 1880, and we’re losing 427 billion metric tons of ice sheets each year, according to NASA. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of the United Nations, has stated that “scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.”
It’s worrying to see some of the most important people in our government deny these facts. All I can do is repeat the data, to remind others, and even myself, that climate change is an existential crisis, the politicization of which is incredibly harmful to future generations.