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Harris, Pence spar over climate science, fracking, and the Green New Deal

Harris, Pence spar over climate science, fracking, and the Green New Deal
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Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceHere's how presidents move into the White House in just hours on Inauguration Day New York court worker arrested, accused of threats related to inauguration Meghan McCain: Trump's legacy is DC looking like a 'war zone' MORE and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisScalise bringing Donna Brazile as guest to Biden inauguration McConnell, Schumer fail to cut power-sharing deal amid filibuster snag Howard University's marching band to escort Harris at inauguration MORE (D-Calif.) sparred over their commitment to the science of climate change, with the vice president repeatedly falsely asserting a Biden administration plans to ban fracking and adopt the Green New Deal.

“The climate is changing. The issue is, what's the cause and what do we do about it? President TrumpDonald TrumpLil Wayne gets 11th hour Trump pardon Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Trump expected to pardon Bannon: reports MORE has made it clear that we're going to continue to listen to science,” Pence said in response to a question about climate change.

Pence later said "climate alarmists" would try to use natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires to try and sell the Green New Deal.

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The Biden campaign has charged the Trump administration with ignoring science on topics ranging from the coronavirus pandemic to climate change.

“When I first got to the Senate on the committee that's responsible for the environment you know this administration took the word science off the website. And then took the phrase climate change off the website. We have seen a pattern with this administration which is they don't believe in science,” Harris said.

She then pointed to a recent example in California, where President Trump, visiting the state to survey wildfire damage, said “I don’t think science knows, actually,” in reference to global warming.

Pence responded to Harris, repeatedly charging that a potential Biden-Harris administration would ban fracking and support the Green New Deal. Pence attacked Harris on these topics several times, even on questions not specifically related to climate change. 

“Now, Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Scalise bringing Donna Brazile as guest to Biden inauguration Sidney Powell withdraws 'kraken' lawsuit in Georgia MORE and Kamala Harris would put us back in the Paris climate Accord they'd impose the Green New Deal, which would crush American energy, would increase the energy costs of American families in their homes, and literally would crush American jobs,” Pence said.

“The both of you repeatedly committed to abolishing fossil fuel and banning of fracking,” he added later said.

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Biden’s climate plan does not call for banning fracking or fossil fuels, something he reiterated in August in Pennsylvania, where this kind of drilling is used.

“I am not banning fracking,” Biden said. “Let me say that again: I am not banning fracking no matter how many times Donald Trump lies about me.” 

Harris also refuted Pence's claims Biden would see a fracking ban.

"I will repeat, and the American people know that Joe Biden will not ban fracking, That is a fact. That is a fact," Harris said, adding that Biden's plan to transition to clean energy is embedded in his plan for economic recovery.

Biden's plan would, however, bar any new oil drilling leases on public lands.

The issue of fracking has been a pressure point with progressive Democrats who want to transition away from fossil fuels. They see fracking as a risk to water quality. 

“Fracking is bad, actually,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezFacebook has no current plan to end the Trump suspension New York court worker arrested, accused of threats related to inauguration Ocasio-Cortez: Facebook, Zuckerberg 'bear partial responsibility' for insurrection MORE (D-N.Y.) tweeted during the debate.

Harris during the event Wednesday largely ignored Pence’s attacks on the Green New Deal.

Harris endorsed the Green New Deal during the Democratic primary and has introduced legislation to begin implementing certain aspects of the resolution. 

The Biden climate plan calls the Green New Deal a “crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face.”

His plan calls for transitioning the country to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.