WALLACE: Senator, how seriously do you take this report from the Trump administration?
SASSE: Well, I think it’s clear that the climate is changing. I think reasonable people can differ about how much and how rapidly. But I think it’s clear that it’s changing and it’s clear that humans are a contributing factor.
I think the real question, though, becomes what do you do about it? Because you can’t legislate or regulate your way into the past. We have to innovate our way into the future.
And right now, you don’t hear a lot of people who put climate as their number one issue. You don’t hear a lot of them offering constructive innovative solutions for the future. It’s usually just a lot of alarmism, but I think the report is important and it shows that the climate is changing.
WALLACE: But, for instance, you oppose what you call EPA overreach, including President Obama’s climate change plan. According to the report, rolling that back, which would limit greenhouse gas emissions, is exactly the wrong approach.
SASSE: Yes. Well, I think we have to recognize that this is a global issue and China and other countries that are rapidly building middle classes are going to be the number one drivers in the long term. So, what the U.S. needs to do is participate in a long-term conversation about how you get to innovation. And it’s going to need to be a conversation, again, that doesn’t start with alarmism, but that starts with some discussion of the magnitude of the challenge, the global elements to it and how the U.S. shouldn’t just do this is a feel-good measure, but some sort of innovative proposal.
And right now, that’s not really what I get from most of the people who make this a top two or three issue for themselves.
WALLACE: But just quickly, I want to move on to other subjects, China for instance is trying to grow into the future and has become a huge investor in solar panels. There was an international agreement in which countries made commitments, the Paris Climate Accord and the president is going to pull us out of that.
So, aren’t — isn’t much of the rest of the world actually moving faster than we are?
SASSE: So, I distinguish between the two parts of your answer. I think the first part about Chinese investment does show part of the way forward. The U.S. needs to have a long-term investment and innovation strategy, that’s true.
But things like the Paris Climate Accord tend to be more binding on us than on other nations. And so, that’s not good for the U.S. consumer and it’s not a long-term solution. But conversations like that are certainly important going forward.