Vice President Mike Pence once described global warming as “a myth,” so his refusal to acknowledge climate change as a threat to the United States during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday wasn’t shocking. But what was somewhat surprising, even by Trump administration standards, was how effortlessly and rapidly Pence lied to make his case.
During a single 20-second stretch, Pence pushed two big lies about how the US is doing environmentally. Tapper fact-checked the first of them in real time.
As Pence danced around questions about whether he regards climate change as a threat, Tapper tried to cut to the chase.
“So you don’t think it’s a threat?” he asked.
“I think we’re making great progress reducing carbon emissions. America has the cleanest air and water in the world,” Pence replied.
“That’s not true,” Tapper shot back. “We don’t have the cleanest air and water in the world.”
“Ahh … but we’re making progress on reducing carbon emissions,” Pence said.
TAPPER: Do you think climate change is a threat?
MIKE PENCE: America has the cleanest air and water in the world
TAPPER: That’s not true
PENCE: Ahh, but we’re making progress on reducing carbon emissions pic.twitter.com/u5hUxFpE6P
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 23, 2019
Neither of Pence’s claims is true. As an Associated Press fact-check details, with regard to air quality, the United States isn’t doing especially well:
The State of Global Air 2019 report by the Health Effects Institute rated the U.S. as having the eighth cleanest air for particle pollution — which kills 85,000 Americans each year — behind Canada, Scandinavian countries and others.
The U.S. ranks poorly on smog pollution, which kills 24,000 Americans per year. On a scale from the cleanest to the dirtiest, the U.S. is at 123 out of 195 countries measured.
It’s also not the case that the US has the cleanest water in the world. While the latest Environmental Performance Index indicates that the US is tied with nine other countries for cleanest drinking water, when sanitation is also factored in,