During a climate change discussion on CBS This Morning on Friday, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) responded to questions about man-made climate change contributing to erosion of land in his home state by claiming Louisiana is using Gulf of Mexico oil drilling revenues to rebuild land, prompting host Tony Dokoupil to hold his feet to the fire.
Noting that scientists have found that Lousiana is losing the equivalent of a football field of land to the Gulf of Mexico every hour, Dokoupil asked Scalise if he accepted the science of man-made climate change and, if so, where’s his plan to address it.
Scalise, who was making the morning show rounds to hawk his new book, replied that his state’s land loss was mostly due to “coastal erosion” and Dokoupil countered that his own state’s scientists said climate change was “man-made” and sea levels were rising.
“We can debate this for hours,” Dokoupil stated. “Scientists have agreed that climate change is a catastrophic risk, do you have a plan, as some other members of your party are beginning to address it?”
The House Minority Whip, meanwhile, fell back to one of climate-change deniers’ favorite talking points: the earth’s temperature changes all the time. “So you don’t accept the science?” Dokoupil wondered, causing Scalise to claim scientists said in the 1970s “we were entering a new cooling period.”
NASA, however, has shown that the planet’s average temperature has risen nearly two degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century and that most of that warming has taken place in the past three decades.
As the CBS host pushed back on Scalise’s description of climate change, the Louisiana lawmaker explained that his state was taking oil money to combat the effects on their coast.
“Let me tell you what we’re doing—we’re actually taking revenues from drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and using that to rebuild land to rebuild our coast,” he said. “I think it's a real important step to show people how to take ownership of the problem that they have in their own community."
For his part, Dokoupil concluded by pointing out how this seemed highly contradictory.
“So to save your constituents from climate change, you’re drilling more in the Gulf of Mexico?"