This story has been updated.
The speculation is over: Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, is Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick.
Recognized as a social conservative, Pence also aligns well with Trump in another way — having a history of dismissing widely accepted scientific findings.
Trump has said that he is “not a big believer in man-made climate change.” Now watch Mike Pence discuss both climate change and evolution on a 2009 episode of MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” (the fun begins around minute 6):
The full transcript of this interview is actually available online, right here. Some key quotes from Pence from the interview, with my notes in parentheses:
On climate change: “I think the science is very mixed on the subject of global warming, Chris.” (It isn’t.) “In the mainstream media, Chris, there is a denial of the growing skepticism in the scientific community about global warming.” (There wasn’t, and isn’t, growing skepticism.)
On teaching creationism in schools: “I think in our schools we should teach all of the facts about all of these controversial areas, and let our students, let our children and our children’s children decide based upon the facts and the science.” (This would appear to be a “teach the controversy” position, supported by creationism and intelligent design supporters.)
When asked whether he believes in evolution (for a second time): “I believe with all my heart that God created the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that is in them …. How he did that, I’ll ask him about some day.” (Many religious believers have no problem saying that God acted through the process of evolution, a view that is not considered to be science-denying creationism, and that reconciles, successfully, science and religion. But note here that Pence does not specifically accept that stance.)
On embryonic stem cell research: “What the administration did on stem cells was ignore….scientific breakthroughs that obviated the need to destroy human embryos for research.” (Hmm, stem cell researchers were, in their own words, “elated” over Obama’s 2009 decision to lift Bush-era limitations on embryonic stem cell research. They didn’t cite any such “breakthroughs” in reacting to Obama’s policy.)
You can see more in the video above — including that Pence is pretty deft at avoiding Matthews’s attempts to make the interview even more of a documentation of his science-questioning views.
A scan of stories from local media in Indiana, Pence’s home state, similarly confirms that, like Trump, he is a climate change “skeptic” at minimum.
In 2006, he told the Muncie, Ind., Star Press that, “Any fair reading of the science today, while global warming has taken place, it is not yet clear that it is being driven by human activity. But I’m trying to read as much as I can. And my mom used to say ‘better safe than sorry,’ so I am glad the energy bill authorized construction of a number of nuclear power plants in this country, which represent electric-generating facilities that don’t produce so-called greenhouse gases.”
Two years later, when a number of Indiana politicians were asked by the Star Press whether they agreed with a variety of statements about climate change, Pence responded, “I would not agree that there is broad consensus on man-made or human activity being the proximate cause of global warming. I think there is more diversity of opinion among many scientists in this area of discipline than most people realize. I don’t think global warming as caused by human activity is a settled question in the scientific community.”
Buzzfeed, meanwhile, has drawn attention to old Pence op-eds, including one suggesting skepticism about yet another aspect of widely accepted science — the health risks related to smoking.