Mike Pompeo has never been accused of being green.
Dubbed the “congressman from Koch” when first elected in 2010 for the size of the donations he took from the oil billionaire brothers, Pompeo has made a point of questioning the link between global warming and burning fossil fuels.
Asked about climate change in a 2013 interview, he said, “I think the science needs to continue to develop…there are scientists who think lots of different things about climate change,” he said. “There’s some who think we’re warming, there’s some who think we’re cooling, there’s some who think that the last 16 years have shown a pretty stable climate environment.”
When questioned on the matter in his 2017 nomination hearing to become CIA director, he said (paywall) he didn’t want to “get into the details of climate debate and science.”
But Pompeo stepped a significant distance away from his previous views during his nomination hearing to become secretary of state today. “[I] believe that the climate is changing, that there’s a warming taking place. I’m happy to concede there is likely a human component to that,” he told Democratic senator Jeff Merkley.
He added that the State department ought to be involved in combatting climate change’s national security challenges, and that he didn’t “take any fault” in commitments made in a report by the intelligence services earlier this year which warned of the threats of climate change.
Merkley responded, “You’re heading in the right direction.” To which Pompeo seemed to half-joke, “It wasn’t even grudgingly said.”