Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismisses Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on climate change

White House press secretary says they’ll listen to ‘a much, much higher authority’ than freshman congresswoman

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders answers a question during the daily briefing at the White House December 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders answers a question during the daily briefing at the White House December 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Posted January 23, 2019 at 8:55am

Regarding man-made climate change, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says that the White House would rather listen to “a much, much higher authority” than Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Fox New host Sean Hannity asked Sanders on Tuesday night to respond to a statement by Ocasio-Cortez that greenhouse gas emissions have to be dramatically curbed the next twelve years to avoid catastrophe.

“Millennials and Gen Z, all these folks that will come after us, are looking up and we’re like: ‘The world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change and your biggest issue is, how are we gonna pay for it?’” the New York 14th District congresswoman said on Monday.

That claim is consistent with a report issued last year by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which concluded that averting flooding, droughts and food shortages requires a historically unprecedented transformation of energy consumption by 2030.

Sanders told Hannity, “I don’t think we’re going to listen to [Ocasio-Cortez] on much of anything — particularly not on matters we’re gonna leave in the hands of a much, much higher authority — and certainly, not listen to the freshman congresswoman on when the world may end,” Sanders said.

Sanders pivoted to the president’s push for a wall along the southern border.

“That’s the kind of stuff we’re focused on, not things we’re gonna leave up to the hands of something and someone much more powerful than any of us.”

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The president has mocked the scientific consensus on climate change over the years, falsely claiming in a tweet on Sunday that winter storms disprove data showing a warming earth.

Trump nominated acting administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former lobbyist for energy and coal interests, to permanently head the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month. 

Under Wheeler, the EPA has moved forward to replace the Clean Power Plan with less stringent carbon emissions rules for existing power plants and eased vehicle emission standards.

At his confirmation hearing on Jan. 16, Wheeler said he does not believe that climate change is “the greatest crisis.” 

Elvina Nawaguna contributed to this report.