As Laura Looms, RNC Continues to Ignore the Climate Crisis

Trump and his allies continue to ignore the devastating effects of climate change, like the fires ravaging California or Hurricane Laura, supercharged by the abnormally warm waters of the Gulf, and barreling toward Texas and Louisiana — and predicted to make landfall tonight between “Cancer Alley” and Houston, a city still reeling from Hurricane Harvey. 

While the Republican National Convention’s theme last night was “Land of Opportunity,” unfortunately, they didn’t take the opportunity to talk about the actual crises facing our country: climate change, COVID, racial injustice, and economic devastation. Instead, they offered thoughts and prayers, but no action.

Tonight’s theme is “Land of Heroes.” While there are many heroes in the fight against climate change, you won’t see any of them at the GOP convention.

Instead, Mike Pence will continue the GOP’s fixation on a conception of public safety unmoored from the fact that large swaths of the country are literally on fire, consumed by heatwaves, under evacuation orders, or devastated by an inland hurricane.

Pence’s anti-climate, the anti-science record has focused on lining the pockets of oil and gas CEOs, denying climate science, ignoring the disproportionate impact of climate change on communities of color, and killing thousands of good-paying, clean energy jobs.

Despite claiming he and Donald Trump “follow the science,” Pence has repeatedly denied the existence of climate change and downplayed the coronavirus pandemic.

Mike Pence’s Real Record on Climate and Energy

Pence is a climate denier: 

  • Pence has called climate change a “myth” and said the evidence was “simply not there.”
  • Pence’s refusal to believe in science led to public health crises, accelerating an HIV epidemic in Indiana and leading the Trump administration’s failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • As Republican Conference leader in the House, Pence hosted a mock climate change hearing where he brought climate deniers together to oppose action on climate change.
  • Pence has led Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force since February and praised Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis. To date, the administration’s handling of the crisis has cost more than 177,000 lives

Pence does not care about Black and Brown communities: 

  • As Governor, Pence’s administration denied an application for disaster relief for an East Chicago, IN community affected by a lead contamination crisis that resulted in 1,000 residents being displaced.
  • Pence has called climate change a “myth” and said the evidence was “simply not there,” which is an inherently racist statement since Black and Brown communities disproportionately receive most of the consequences from climate change. The National Academy of Sciences found that Black and Brown individuals are exposed to 56% and 63% more particulate air pollution versus what they cause. Their caucasian counterparts are exposed to less pollution than they cause. 

Pence does not support clean energy and will do anything to kill advancement — all for Big Oil:

  • Pence maintains a cozy relationship with the Koch brothers, receiving $300,000 in campaign funding when he first ran for governor.
  • The Trump-Pence administration has been rolling back at least 100 environmental rules and regulations at the benefit of oil and gas. 

Pence pretends to support green energy when he has done the exact opposite:

  • In 2014, Pence killed the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s “Energize Indiana” program that created 19,000 Hoosier jobs and improved the energy efficiency of homes, schools, and businesses.
  • Pence’s own family gas station chain led by his brother, Greg Pence, racked up debt and environmental fines that left the site contaminated, costing Indiana taxpayers $21 million in cleanup costs.

Interested in Connecting with a Climate Action Political Expert or Activist? We have a number of political, climate, and environmental justice advocates and experts available to connect to discuss the importance of climate change in the 2020 elections and contrast the climate and environmental records of President Trump, Vice President Pence, and those of Joe Biden and Sen. Harris. You can find a list of experts and activists here.


  • Washington Post: Trump and the RNC ignore the biggest crisis of all
    • “… Yet if you listen to the Republican National Convention this week, talk of the threat posed by climate change will be wholly, if predictably, absent. President Trump ranks as perhaps the world’s most prominent climate skeptic, while his administration has steadily loosened key environmental regulations throughout the country. Trump sees international efforts to curb carbon emissions fuels as a threat to national interests.”
    • “Counter to the mainstream global scientific and political consensus, the Republicans will probably spend more time at the convention attacking the supposed climate “extremism” of activist Democrats than reckoning with the planetary peril at hand. That may make sound electoral politics for now, but critics bemoan Trump’s hopelessly blinkered approach.”
  • New Republic: The Corporate Chaos Behind Republicans’ Silence on Climate Change
    • “Republicans didn’t mention rising temperatures in their first two nights of convention programming. They didn’t even call it a hoax. Climate change doesn’t appear in Trump’s bullet-pointed second-term agenda, released in lieu of an updated 2020 platform as wildfires burn in fifteen states.”
    • “Just as the Republican Party under Trump has grown increasingly unhinged from reality, it may also now offer a less straightforward value proposition for America’s biggest companies, who lack a unified approach to climate change now that denial is increasingly untenable.”
  • E&E News: How climate change might intensify Hurricane Laura
    • “Hurricane Laura is a growing threat as it churns across the Gulf of Mexico. It’s already a Category 1 storm, and the National Hurricane Center warns that Laura could intensify before it reaches the coast.”
    • “There’s a chance the storm could undergo a phenomenon known as “rapid intensification,” which is when a hurricane’s wind speeds increase dramatically over a 24-hour period. If it spins up fast enough, it could be a major hurricane — at least a Category 3 — by the time it makes landfall.”
    • “Laura is expected to hit tonight somewhere near the Texas border with Louisiana. In a public advisory issued yesterday afternoon, NHC warned that “significant strengthening is forecast during the next 36 hours, and Laura is expected to be a major hurricane at landfall.”