Vice President Mike Pence, following President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, has asserted that concern over climate change was exclusively a liberal issue.
On June 1, Trump announced from the White House Rose Garden that the U.S. would pull out from its commitment to the Paris accord, an international pact to reduce carbon emissions signed by 195 countries in 2015.
"I was elected to represent Pittsburgh, not Paris," Trump stated, according to The New York Times. The president added, "It would once have been unthinkable that an international agreement could prevent the United States from conducting its own domestic affairs."
When former President Barack Obama signed onto the accord, the U.S. agreed to reduce its carbon emissions by up to 28 percent by 2025. The international agreement was voluntary, meaning that the U.S. was not legally committed to those reduction goals. The Trump administration, however, asserted that the Paris agreement put an undue economic burden on the U.S. energy sector.
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On June 2, Pence defended the president's decision during an interview.
"We've demonstrated real leadership," Pence told Fox News. "We've demonstrated real leadership. We've demonstrated real progress. But for some reason or another, this issue of climate change has emerged as a paramount issue for the left in this country and around the world."
Pence added "It's long been a goal of the liberal left in this country to advance a climate change agenda."
Bestselling author J.K. Rowling swiftly blasted Pence's comments and his record on LGBTQ rights on social media.
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"Damn those lefties and their so-called science," Rowling tweeted out. "What are they REALLY up to, that's the question. Bet you $10 it's something gay."
In March 17, a survey conducted by Gallup found that there is a dramatic partisan divide in America over the threat of climate change, The poll found that 66 percent of self-identified Democrats said that they worried a great deal about the impacts of global warming while only 18 percent of Republican respondents agreed.
Many scientists believe that manmade carbon emissions are warming the global temperature and could result in environmental disaster. Trump previously voiced skepticism about the subject, deeming it to be a hoax.
In November 2012, Trump tweeted out "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."
On June 2, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt was repeatedly queried by reporters over whether the president believed in climate science. The EPA chief declined to directly answer, asserting that his discussions with Trump regarding the Paris accord boiled down to economics.
"All the discussions we had through the last several weeks have been focused on one singular issue: Is Paris good or not for this country," Pruitt said, according to CNBC. "That's the discussions I've had with the president."
Later that day, former Secretary of State John Kerry slammed Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement, accusing the president of acting like he knew better than the international community.
"I would ask Donald Trump, does he think that (Chinese) President Xi (Jinping), (France's) President (Emmanuel) Macron -- that the Prime Minister of Great Britain (Theresa May), the Chancellor of Germany (Angela Merkel) -- don't know what they're talking about?" Kerry told CNN. "Are they stupid? Is he accusing them of somehow buying into a hoax?"
Kerry deemed Trump's decision "one of the most cynical and frankly ignorant and dangerous, self-destructive steps that I've seen in my entire lifetime in public life."