The Trump administration on Sunday again appeared at odds with lawmakers over the severity of climate change and how it should be addressed in wake of a United Nations report warning of potential dire consequences.
The report, which warns that the world is on a path toward catastrophic climate change if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t cut dramatically by 2030, was a key focus of the Sunday news shows, with top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow pushing back against it.
Sens. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenGOP tries to take filibuster pressure off Manchin, Sinema Overnight Energy & Environment — Biden set to restore national monuments rolled back by Trump Markey: Senate must pass reconciliation package before global climate summit MORE (D-Md.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersPressure grows for breakthrough in Biden agenda talks Sanders, Manchin escalate fight over .5T spending bill Sanders blames media for Americans not knowing details of Biden spending plan MORE (I-Vt.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donating unused campaign funds to Arizona nonprofit focused on elections: report Biden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report MORE (R-Ariz.), meanwhile, were quick to call for action, and Republican Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRepublicans would need a promotion to be 'paper tigers' Defense & National Security — Military starts giving guidance on COVID-19 vaccine refusals Blinken pressed to fill empty post overseeing 'Havana syndrome' MORE (Fla.) acknowledged the scientific consensus that humans are the chief contributor to climate change.
The report, made public last week by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says the world needs to decrease emissions by 45 percent by 2030 to avoid catastrophic consequences.
Kudlow disputed the report during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” saying that he believes “they overestimate” and questioning the degree to which humans have contributed to climate change.
“I’m just saying do we know precisely, and I mean worth modeling, how much of it is man-made, how much of it is solar, how much of it is oceanic, how much of it is rainforest and other issues. I think we’re still exploring all of that,” he said.
"I don’t think we should panic," Kudlow added. "I don’t think there’s an imminent disaster coming, but I think we should look at this in a level-headed and analytic way."
Kudlow’s skepticism over the severity of global climate change falls in line with the views of President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE, who has previously called climate change a “hoax” and last week appeared to question the accuracy of the U.N. report.
Sanders, also appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” slammed Kudlow over his comments, calling them “so irresponsible, so dangerous.”
“It's just hard to believe that a leading government official could make them," the Vermont senator said. “We have 12 years to substantially cut the amount of carbon in our atmosphere, or this planet, our country, the rest of the world, is going to suffer irreversible damage."
Sen. Bernie Sanders says we are in "crisis mode" on climate change and Larry Kudlow's comments "are so irresponsible, so dangerous that it's just hard to believe that a leading government official could make them." https://t.co/iDWHZE9l1L #ThisWeek pic.twitter.com/b3vmo7TjV5— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 14, 2018
Concern stemming from the report crossed the political aisle on Sunday, with Flake saying on “This Week” that the report is “pretty dire.” He also said he believes Republicans who have downplayed the scientific consensus on climate change are going in the wrong direction and called on the GOP to take a leading role in confronting the issue.
"I hope that we can move along with the rest of the world and address this," Flake said. “There are things that we can do and should do and I think Republicans need to be at the forefront if we want to keep our place and keep our seats.”
Van Hollen, a Democratic senator from Maryland, also called on Republicans to address the issue, saying on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the GOP needs to “stop making things worse.”
Van Hollen pointed to the release of the U.N. report and Hurricane Michael, which made landfall last week in Florida and devastated the Florida Panhandle, as evidence of climate change’s severity.
"And at the same you have the Trump administration and a lot of Republicans who just want to put their head in the sands. They don’t want to hear the information," Van Hollen said.
"This administration and Republicans in Congress are actually rolling back auto emission standards, rolling back clean power plant rules. Let’s stop making things worse and then we definitely need to take action to make things better," he added.
But Rubio raised doubts over what lawmakers should do in response to climate change, even as he said he recognizes the scientific consensus that human activity is the main driver of the issue.
When asked on “Face the Nation” whether he believes humans are the chief contributor to climate change, the Florida senator said it’s his view that “that’s what a lot of scientists say.”
He added, however, that policies that are considered in response to climate change need to be weighed against “the public interest and other topics.”
“If we're going to have that debate about whether certain laws should be passed in order to alleviate what some scientists or a lot of scientists are saying is the cause of this, that has to be balanced with the public interest and other topics like the economy and the like,” he said.
.@marcorubio on the Climate Change debate: I don't think the debate has been always about whether or not it's human contribution. It's about whether the public policies being advocated would be effective. pic.twitter.com/vSCkHx1ZbQ— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) October 14, 2018