Andrea Mitchell to EPA Chief: 'What Future Does A Child Face' if Nothing is Done on Climate Change?

During her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Tuesday, host Andrea Mitchell teed up Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy to promote a new White House report on climate change and push President Obama's left-wing environmentalist agenda: "Let's imagine for a moment that there's a baby being born right now....What future does this child face if nothing is done? What is the water level? What is going to happen to our coasts? What will – temperature changes?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

McCarthy replied: "We know the dangers of climate change. We see rising sea levels, we see rising temperatures as going to result in more ozone and that means more asthma attacks for our kids moving forward."

At the top of the program, Mitchell hyped the politically-charged report:

Clear and present danger. The White House releases a landmark report on climate change, warning that the recent severe storms, devastating droughts, and raging wildfires are only the first wave of the calamities ahead. Coming up here, the urgent actions needed and the political obstacles.

Introducing McCarthy, Mitchell proclaimed: "The White House is now highlighting the dangers of climate change in a major new report today that says the average temperature in the United States has gone up at least 1.3 degrees....The report says that climate change is real and it is already happening."

In her first question, Mitchell slammed skeptics: "First of all, the key points of this report, as far as you're concerned, as far as science is concerned, they're not disputable, correct?" McCarthy predictably responded: "That's correct. This is a clear indication that we're already today facing the impacts from climate, it's not just about future projections anymore."

In her most challenging question, Mitchell pointed out:

But what about those who say, as just this morning on Morning Joe Senator [John] Thune [R-SD] was saying, that what point is it to do something here because it's a global problem? China's not going to backtrack on their industrial production, their pollution, so why take steps that hurt American jobs and the American economy when it's not going to improve our own air and our own – the temperatures, certainly, globally?

McCarthy argued: "Well, this assessment shows us that – that impacts are already being felt in the U.S. and that action really does need to be taken. So the President's climate action plan – which is really a priority for him not just as president but as a father of two lovely children – is to really take action on climate now."


Here is a full transcript of the May 6 exchange:

12:00 PM ET TEASE:

ANDREA MITCHELL: Clear and present danger. The White House releases a landmark report on climate change, warning that the recent severe storms, devastating droughts, and raging wildfires are only the first wave of the calamities ahead. Coming up here, the urgent actions needed and the political obstacles.

MARK HALPERIN [ON MORNING JOE]: Is human behavior contributing to climate change in a dangerous way that threatens the planet?

SEN. JOHN THUNE [R-SD]: Well, I mean, I think that there's obviously a debate about that. And my own view is if you accept that premise, the next question is, what are we going to do about it and at what cost? And I think-

HALPERIN: So do you accept the premise or not?

THUNE: Well, I think there are a lot of things that are going on that perhaps contribute to it.

MITCHELL: We'll discuss.

12:01 PM ET SEGMENT:

MITCHELL: The White House is now highlighting the dangers of climate change in a major new report today that says the average temperature in the United States has gone up at least 1.3 degrees – that's a big deal – since record keeping began in 19 – excuse me – in 1895. More than 80% of that temperature rise has happened just since 1980.

The report says that climate change is real and it is already happening. The north and southeast could get more coastal flooding and severe hurricanes, the plains and Midwest suffer drier winters and more wildfires. And on the west coast, drought is straining water use and creating tensions over water rights.

What steps should we be taking? I'm joined by the nation's administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy. Very good to have you with us. First of all, the key points of this report, as far as you're concerned, as far as science is concerned, they're not disputable, correct?

GINA MCCARTHY: That's correct. This is a clear indication that we're already today facing the impacts from climate, it's not just about future projections anymore.

MITCHELL: But what about those who say, as just this morning on Morning Joe Senator [John] Thune [R-SD] was saying that what point is it to do something here because it's a global problem? China's not going to backtrack on their industrial production, their pollution, so why take steps that hurt American jobs and the American economy when it's not going to improve our own air and our own – the temperatures, certainly, globally?
 
MCCARTHY: Well, this assessment shows us that – that impacts are already being felt in the U.S. and that action really does need to be taken. So the President's climate action plan – which is really a priority for him not just as president but as a father of two lovely children – is to really take action on climate now. Take action to reduce carbon pollution, take action to ensure that our communities are resilient and we help to support that and keep them safe.

But also to have a larger voice in the national agenda. Global action is necessary, but the U.S. can and should step up. And there's actions we can take that are very consistent with keeping us competitive in a global marketplace.

MITCHELL: Let's imagine for a moment that there's a baby being born right now. There are, you know, babies being born all over this country. What future does this child face if nothing is done? What is the water level? What is going to happen to our coasts? What will – temperature changes?

MCCARTHY: Well, we know from this assessment that there's impacts in every region. We know the dangers of climate change. We see rising sea levels, we see rising temperatures as going to result in more ozone and that means more asthma attacks for our kids moving forward.

But I think the bright spot here is that we know that states and local communities across the U.S have been taking action to reduce carbon pollution. And if you take a look at the plan that the President put out, he basically said there are a number of actions that we can take today that will protect this next generation, that will reduce carbon pollution and do it in a way that's consistent with economic growth and with U.S. competitiveness.

Just take a look at what he did in the first term. We worked with the auto manufacturers, we took a look at how we can provide more fuel efficient vehicles, reduce carbon pollution in half, and also provide an opportunity for the auto manufacturers to rebuild themselves. So we can do this. This is not about frightening people, it's about facing realities that we face today and taking action to protect our kids in the future.

MITCHELL: Given the budget constraints, can we deal with the infrastructure that we're going to need? We saw what happened after Superstorm Sandy.

MCCARTHY: Well, one of things we're taking a look at is working with communities on these resiliency issues. What we're doing with Hurricane Sandy is making sure that we're not rebuilding in a way that makes that same infrastructure susceptible to the next violent storm they're going to face. So we're learning. As long as we keep learning and we're taking action, then we can take the actions that are necessary to address this challenge.

The biggest danger we face, Andrea, is inaction. We see the impacts now we know what those costs are. We have to prevent the next generation from facing more and bigger problems if we can address these issues now in an economically sound practical common sense way. That's what the President's climate action calls for, that's what the President knows is our moral obligation to do.

MITCHELL: Gina McCarthy from the EPA, the EPA administrator, thank you very much for starting us off here today.

MCCARTHY: It's great to be here, thanks.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC