Speed Reads

Sigh

Pence refuses to say if climate crisis is a threat to the U.S.

Despite Jake Tapper's best efforts, Vice President Mike Pence would not answer his question on Sunday's State of the Union about whether the "human-induced climate emergency" is a threat to the United States.

The CNN host posed the query in response to the Trump administration's decision last week to roll back former President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan, which worked to reduce pollution from coal plants. After Tapper asked the first time, Pence said the administration will "always follow the science," and Tapper quickly interrupted to say "the science says it is."

Tapper kept asking the question, reminding Pence that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say it's a threat, but Pence continued to dodge, instead saying multiple times the administration is "not going to raise utility rates" and criticizing the Green New Deal.

Pence finally said he believes the U.S. is "making great progress reducing carbon emissions," with the country having "the cleanest air and water in the world," which caused Tapper to start laughing. "That is not true," he said. "We don't have the cleanest air and water in the world. We don't." Tapper then invited Pence to "get back to me with some statistics that show it."