Podesta: 'Denier' of climate change won't win White House in 2016

At the end of an environment-themed week for the administration, Obama adviser John Podesta took a harsh tone toward climate change skeptics Friday, warning that their views would lead to a tough path to the White House.

“If you’re a climate denier trying to run nationally, I think you’re going to have a very hard road to getting elected president,” Podesta said.

Podesta, who has worked heavily on climate issues since rejoining the White House, was referring specifically to opponents of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Monday proposal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants as an effort to slow climate change.

ADVERTISEMENT
Without mentioning him by name, Podesta targeted Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who said last week that he is “not qualified to debate the science over climate change.”

“People who deny the existence of climate change, who want to try to run suggesting that they really aren’t scientists and they don’t really get it … I think that’s a losing side of the argument,” Podesta said.

He cited a poll this week by Democratic-aligned Public Policy Polling to declare “broad support” for fighting climate change.

“In red states and blue states, amongst Republicans, independents and Democrats, there’s very strong support for taking action to reduce carbon pollution,” he said.

Podesta has spent much of the past week helping the EPA roll out its power plant proposal. He spoke with some lawmakers last weekend, helped announce the rules Monday and met with Senate Democrats on Tuesday.

At the Friday event with reporters hosted by The Christian Science Monitor, Podesta also took aim at a study last week from the Chamber of Commerce that predicted billions of dollars of annual costs and hundreds of thousands of lost jobs because of the rule. The analysis was based on assumptions that were not in the proposal, including a 42 percent reduction in carbon emissions, as opposed to the 30 percent in the regulation.

“These claims of massive job losses have largely been debunked or raised based on a set of assumptions that have zero to do with the rule that was put on the table,” he said. “So they’re fantasy job loss numbers.”

The EPA’s own analysis predicted net job gains from the rule, mainly in cleaner electricity generation that would be spurred by the new standards. But some Republicans and business interests continue to use the Chamber figures.

More in Energy & Environment

Conservatives urge states to ‘fiercely resist’ EPA's climate rule

Read more »