5 Real Things Mike Pence Has Said About Climate Change

by Ryan Schleeter

July 15, 2016

Donald Trump’s new running mate has quite the track record on climate and energy — and not in a good way.

Mike Pence

Governor Mike Pence of Indiana speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo by Gage Skidmore / Flickr. Creative Commons.

Earlier today, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announced Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his vice presidential pick on Twitter. Pence — a self-described “Christian, conservative, and Republican, in that order” — was a longtime member of the House of Representatives and has served as governor of Indiana since 2013.

As you would expect from someone accompanying Trump on the ballot, Pence has used his time in office to make some highly questionable statements on climate change. In fact, when we previewed Trump’s likely picks earlier this week, we told you that Pence had the worst record on energy and climate of the three.

Here’s more on what we meant by that.

1. He Called Global Warming a “Myth”

Mike Pence was denying the science of climate change before the first season of “The Apprentice” had even aired. His campaign site from 2001 made it clear that he did not agree with the scientific consensus around climate change, claiming that the Earth was “actually cooler than it was 50 years ago and that global warming was a “myth.”

This view was as false then as it is today, but don’t think for a second Pence’s views have evolved. (And why would they? Pence won’t state whether or not he believes in evolution.)

In a 2014 interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, Pence said that he didn’t think the science of climate change was “resolved,” backing up his claim with the fact that his state of Indiana had a “tough winter” that year.

2. As Governor, He Refused to Implement the Clean Power Plan

Last year, Pence joined a chorus of conservative governors seeking to block implementation of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, a set of sweeping reforms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Under the rule, states will have to submit plans to the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce emissions rates by 2030. But Pence says that Indiana simply won’t submit a plan.

3. He Voted Against Limiting Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Twice

True to his history of staunch climate denial, Pence consistently voted against climate legislation and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions during his time in the House.

In 2009, he voted against a cap-and-trade bill designed to limit carbon dioxide emissions and generate revenue to invest in clean energy. The bill passed the House, but didn’t make it through the Senate. Then in 2011, he voted for a bill to limit the EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Again, the bill passed the House but failed in the Senate.

While no longer a voting member of Congress, Pence has continued to use his platform as governor to speak out against any kind of climate legislation. In a 2014 op-ed blasting the Clean Power Plan, he wrote that he would “continue to fight against any regulation from Washington that makes it more difficult for Indiana to continue to be the state that works.”

Translation: Pence won’t just vote against climate action, he’ll do everything he can to get others to do the same.

4. He Used the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster to Call for More Offshore Drilling

Following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster — which killed 11 people and spilled 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico — Pence and other House Republicans made the curious choice to call for more offshore drilling. While the majority of Congress was busy passing a moratorium on Gulf drilling,

Pence used the tragedy to push for more offshore drilling in the name of energy independence built on “access to all our domestic resources.” He was also quick to place blame on the Obama administration rather than BP itself for the spill and response efforts.

5. He Was Really Into the Keystone XL Pipeline

Both in the House and as governor, Pence repeatedly vocalized his support for the Keystone XL pipeline. He touted the popular line among proponents that the project would create 42,000 long-term jobs. In reality, it would have been more like 50.

But the truth hasn’t stopped Pence (or Trump, for that matter) from continuing to rally behind the failed pipeline proposal. After President Obama vetoed the plan in 2015, Pence tweeted that the president had “turned his back on consumers.”

Bonus: He’s Also Dangerous on Reproductive Rights, LGBTQ Equality, Criminal Justice, Public Health, and More!

Climate denial and 19th century energy policy aren’t the only reasons to be wary of Mike Pence in executive office. Check out this breakdown from ThinkProgress on some of his other extreme positions.

Ryan Schleeter

By Ryan Schleeter

Ryan Schleeter is an online content producer and editor of the Greenpeace USA blog. His writing has appeared in National Geographic, Grist, GreenBiz, EcoWatch, and more. Find him on Twitter @ryschlee.

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