The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Mike Pence's Terrible Record Of Science Denial

As Mike Pence and Kamala Harris prepare to take the debate stage in Salt Lake City, voters around the country are overwhelmingly concerned about climate-fueled extreme weather


As Mike Pence and Kamala Harris prepare to take the debate stage in Salt Lake City, voters around the country are overwhelmingly concerned about climate-fueled extreme weather events, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and the Trump-Pence administration's abject failure to deal with both.

The vice president has a disturbing history of ignoring science and siding with Big Oil -- and has been a key player in the Trump-Pence administration's decision to put climate deniers and Big Oil lobbyists into key government jobs. During Wednesday's debate, Mike Pence must be pushed to explain his well-documented record of furthering environmental injustices and protecting the profits of polluters over people.

"Mike Pence denies science, he denies the climate crisis, and he denies the dangers of COVID-19," said Climate Power 2020 Executive Director Lori Lodes. "As climate fires rage out West and yet another supercharged hurricane threatens the Gulf Coast, voters want our leaders to take bold action on climate because the climate crisis is real, it's here, and it's impacting our daily lives. Instead of bold action, Pence has only offered more denial, chaos, and handouts to Big Oil CEOs and polluters."

The facts don't lie. Mike Pence's Record is Terrible:

  • Pence is a climate denier. Pence, who had a lifetime score of 4% on the National Environmental Scorecard has called climate change a "myth" and said the evidence was "simply not there."
    • Pence has been described as a "loyal political ally" of the Koch brothers.
    • In his last gubernatorial campaign, Pence raised more than $850,000 from the energy sector.
  • Pence turned his back on Black communities. Pence ignored pleas for help when a lead crisis impacted mostly-Black East Chicago, IN, but immediately responded to lead contamination in a 97% white community in the same year.
    • The Trump-Pence administration has also rolled back at least 100 environmental rules and regulations - many of which were designed as safeguards to protect frontline communities from pollution.
  • Pence is anti-science. Pence's refusal to believe in science led to public health crises - responsible for accelerating an HIV epidemic in Indiana and the Trump administration's failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic (which he led).
    • 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 voted six times to overrule scientists.
  • Pence killed 19,000 clean energy jobs. Mike Pence effectively killed the Energize Indiana program that created 19,000 Hoosier jobs while also saving energy.
  • The Pence family forced taxpayers to clean up their pollution. Pence's family gas station business left Indiana taxpayers with $21 million in cleanup costs from contaminated sites.
    • Kiel Bros Oil Co, the Pence family gas station chain led by Mike Pence's brother, Greg, racked up debt and environmental fines in the early 2000s, eventually filing for bankruptcy and leaving behind contaminated sites that left Indiana taxpayers with $21 million in cleanup costs.

Climate Power 2020 is putting the Trump administration on defense every single day for ignoring experts, refusing to believe in science, surrendering our government to big oil executives, and gutting public health protections, all at the expense of future generations. The 2020 presidential election is the defining moment for how our nation addresses the climate crisis--our leaders must be emboldened to take immediate action on climate change and to build a just and equitable economy. The time to act is now. Learn more: