Cornered by CNN’s Jake Tapper on whether or not climate change is a threat, Vice President Mike Pence toed the Trump line on Sunday, offering everything but a clear cut answer.
After pointing out that the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, said earlier this year that climate change is "likely to fuel competition for resources, economic distress and social discontent," Tapper put to the vice president a very simple question.
“Do you believe think human-induced climate emergency is a threat to the United States?” he asked.
Pence responded saying, “what I will tell you is that we will always follow the science on that in this administration.”
He then switched to accusing other countries, such as India and China, of failing to do enough to combat the effects of climate change and insisted that President Trump would make no moves that might drive up the cost of energy for Americans.
“Look, what the President has said, what we have said is that we're not going to raise utility rates,” Pence said. “Remember what President Obama said? He said he had his climate change plan. He said it is necessarily going to cause utility rates to skyrocket, and that would force us into these green technologies.
“Now you have got Democrats all running for president that are running on a Green New Deal that would break this economy.”
But is climate change a threat?
“I think we're making great progress reducing carbon emissions, America has the cleanest air and water in the world. We will continue to use market forces…” Pence went on.
Apart from Trump, who has proven time and again that he disbelieves the scientific consensus on climate change, and the rest of his political allies in the administration, various entities and people within the federal government have labeled climate change a threat to the U.S. and the world — including NASA, NOAA, the Pentagon and the 4th National Climate Assessment.
That Pence is unwilling to say the same shows how closely his political ambitions are tied to Trump, as well as Trump’s supporters. Should Pence publicly acknowledge the threat of climate change, he knows he would be kissing his future in politics goodbye.