Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist and dedicated climate change obfuscationist, sat down for a rare one-on-one interview with CBS News’ Major Garrett on Wednesday. In the interview, Wheeler insisted that the effects of man-made global warming aren’t really a hugely pressing issue at the moment, but let’s circle back in a couple of decades and see where things stand then—presumably, under 10 feet of water.
Calling climate change “important” and something “we have to be addressing and we are addressing,” Wheeler nevertheless claimed that right now the EPA is more focused on the issue of clean drinking water, which he said is “a crisis that I think we can solve.”
Climate change, meanwhile, can wait. Why? Because, according to Wheeler, “most of the threats from climate change are 50 to 75 years out.”
While ensuring access to safe drinking water is a noble goal (albeit not one the Trump administration’s EPA has been particularly great at acknowledging), huge swaths of the Midwest are right now, as you read this, submerged under record-setting floodwaters fueled in no small part by climate change. But, hey, I guess we’ve got half a century before things get really bad, right?
Responding to Democrats running for the presidency in 2020 who are treating climate change as a catastrophic situation, Wheeler told Garrett that approach is “unreasonable.”
“All of the environmental indicators continue to get better,” Wheeler added. Really?
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2019, “1,000 decision-makers from the public sector, private sector, academia and civil society [assessed] the risks facing the world” and concluded that that “over a ten-year horizon, extreme weather and climate-change policy failures are seen as the gravest threats.”
Wheeler, however, would rather kick the can down the road. Probably because he knows that by the time the road is either too scorched to walk on, or too far underwater to care about, he’ll be long dead, and this’ll all be someone else’s problem.