Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was elected just last November, but White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is already making it clear that the Trump administration isn’t interested in what she has to say.
Responding to the congresswoman’s recent claim that “the world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change,” Sanders brushed off the warning, appearing to invoke religion as the real deciding factor when it comes to Earth’s future.
“I don’t think we’re going to listen to her on much of anything, particularly not on matters that … we’re going to leave into the hands of a much, much higher authority and certainly not listen to the freshman congresswoman on when the world may end,” she told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in an interview Tuesday.
(Sanders has not held a White House press briefing in more than a month and has been instructed by President Donald Trump not to do so despite her Fox News appearance.)
Instead of giving attention to global warming, Sanders pivoted to immigration, suggesting environmental issues need not be a significant item on the White House agenda.
“We’re focused on what’s happening in the world right now. We wish that Democrats like herself would engage in that conversation, help us fix some of the current problems we know exist and work with us to get some things done, particularly on the border, fixing the national and humanitarian crisis.”
Furthering her reference to a higher being, Sanders said Ocasio-Cortez’s talking point should be left to “something and someone much more powerful than any of us.”
The congresswoman’s remarks were made during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech Monday.
While Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t unpack the “12 years” reference in her statements in the clip above, the comment is somewhat misleadingly presented.
The timeline made news in October when the world’s top environmental scientists issued an alert in a report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which cautioned that the global rise in temperature must not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius within the next dozen years. If it does, the experts argued, the effects will be devastating, with higher risks of poverty, droughts, floods and heat waves.
That’s not to say the world could end in 12 years.
Furthermore, in explaining why the claim deserves context, Forbes science writer Michael Marshall noted that we’ve been given such ultimatums time and time again only to continue passing them without sufficient action taken.
“The point is that the climate is not so simple as to give us a neat cutoff date for action,” he wrote after the U.N. study was published.
“So, forget about deadlines. The simple truth is that stopping climate change gets harder if we leave it later.”