MSNBC host Katy Tur on Tuesday questioned whether democracy was the best system of government to address climate change.
"Can I ask a hard question here?" Tur asked guest Jake Levine, a former energy and climate aide to President Barack Obama. "The way our democracy is set up, where there's turnover every few years and a new administration can come in and completely roll back what the last one did, can you really address this issue with that system?"
Levine argued it could be done if voters elected leaders united to address climate change.
"Sure. I mean look, there are no doubt deficiencies in the way our democracy has been able to address this and many other issues," Levine said. "But if we are serious about this challenge and if we vote for leaders in our legislature—not just in Congress, but in state legislatures—who have the power to enact legislation and law that will require our agencies to take concrete actions, I think that we can turn the tide on this policy stalemate that we've been living through for the last decade as we've seen emissions skyrocket and actions really stagnate."
Tur then claimed the issue of climate change used to be something that all politicians agreed on.
"We didn't always disagree on this. This was something everybody agreed on as late as the 1980s," she said. "All politicians basically agreed on it. It wasn't until there was a concerted disinformation campaign perpetrated by the oil industry that would discredit the science that they already had on record."
There is a long history of debate over climate change, and scientists and policymakers have not always agreed. A report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute documented more than 50 years of what it calls "notably wild predictions from notable people in government and science." One prediction, reported by the Associated Press in 1989, claimed rising seas would "obliterate" nations by the year 2000. Just a few years earlier, headlines were warning about another ice age.
Tur has in the past made other controversial comments about climate change. She misled her viewers by claiming that "hurricane season" no longer exists because hurricanes now occur in all seasons. Earlier this year, she defended the Green New Deal by saying "millions and millions and millions of people will die" if the United States does not take drastic action.