GOP Sens Shrug At Trump Admin’s Alarming Black Friday Climate Change Report

November 25, 2018 12:13 p.m.

Two days after several Trump administration agencies published an alarming report on the impact of man-made climate change, three Republican senators did the equivalent of a rhetorical shrug in response.

Though Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Mike Lee (R-UT) all acknowledged the existence of a changing climate to some degree — though Ernst hedged that “the climate is always changing” — the three Republicans expressed doubt about and resistance to potential federal efforts to combat what climate scientists have characterized as a fast-moving threat to humanity.

On CNN, Ernst expressed concern about the impact of federal efforts on “American industry and jobs” but acknowledged “there is a balance that can be struck there,” pointing to the wind energy farms in her state.

On Fox News Sunday, Sasse criticized “alarmism” on the side of those advocating for federal efforts to address climate change, and appeared to stand by President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord — the global agreement aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions — calling it “not a long-term solution.”

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And Lee told NBC News that “all the proposals” to address climate change that he has seen “would devastate the U.S. economy and have little or no benefit that is demonstrable from our standpoint.”

The White House itself has sought to downplay the implications of the report, calling it “largely based on the most extreme scenario.” One scientist who worked on the assessment wrote of that response: “I can confirm it considers ALL scenarios, from those where we go carbon negative before end of century to those where carbon emissions continue to rise. What WH says is demonstrably false.”

The report is the combined work of more than a dozen federal agencies lead by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including the Defense Department and NASA.

Watch the senators’ reactions below:

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