Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence took to the airways Tuesday morning to defend his running-mate Donald Trump from claims Trump lied during Monday night’s debate about his previous comments on global warming.
On NBC’s morning program Today, Pence was asked outright whether Trump lied when he distanced himself from his past assertions that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive.
“Was that not true? Did he [Trump] tell a lie last night?” anchor Savannah Guthrie asked Pence.
Pence said Trump’s first comment on climate change, which appeared on Twitter in 2012, were “flippant and joking.” (The official Twitter government and elections team responsible for social media metrics, found that Trump’s 2012 tweet was the most retweeted tweet of the debates.)
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
But Guthrie quickly interjected, noting Trump has in fact called climate change a hoax numerous times on Twitter.
“What Donald Trump’s position is the hoax is some bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. can change the climate of the Earth,” Pence replied, adding climate change plans will cost “millions of American jobs.”
Pence then touted Donald Trump’s tax plan — based on tax cuts — will make America competitive, and that there is a need to push back on the “radical climate change agenda Hillary Clinton wants to advance.”
Trump has said climate change is hoax numerous times. Just last December he told a rally, “Obama’s talking about all of this with the global warming and… a lot of it’s a hoax. It’s a hoax. I mean, it’s a money-making industry, okay? It’s a hoax, a lot of it.”
Trump’s comments on climate change have dogged him for years, and on Monday, during the first presidential debate, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton reminded the audience what Trump has said on climate change.
The Republican nominee interrupted her to deny what he’s said. “I did not, I did not, I don’t say that,” Trump said, though the evidence shows otherwise.
The evidence also shows that climate change is, in fact, a reality. Studies consistently verifying that global warming is happening: NASA reported that last month was “the warmest August in 136 years of modern record-keeping” and it tied with July 2016 for the “warmest month ever recorded.” In April, a research team confirmed that 97 percent of climate scientists agree that human’s greenhouse gas emissions are driving ongoing climate change. This consensus, and the notion that humans are driving global warming is not something new.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations backed body, has said for years that the planet is warming — thanks largely to human activity — at an unprecedented pace. A warming planet means a warming the ocean, a loss of glaciers and ice sheets, and a reduction of liquid water storage, which together are increasing ocean volume worldwide, making it virtually certain that global mean sea level rise will continue for centuries unless humans aggressively cut their emissions.
Policies that could tackle emissions have been found to be good for business. In fact, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, found that countries with more stringent environmental policies remain competitive to more polluting nations.
Meanwhile, public opinion researchers in August told ThinkProgress that Trump’s comments on climate change may be resonating with the Republican base, and now twice as many Republicans are unsure about the evidence of global warming as they were a year ago.
Some 26 percent of Republicans told researchers this spring they were unsure about global warming, up from 13 percent last year, according to the National Surveys on Energy and Environment report.