Climate change is as important an issue for the nation as reforming gun laws, so why doesn't the Obama administration push for equal reform in this area?
That was the hard hitting question asked of Joe Biden last week by Rolling Stone magazine. Biden was characteristically blunt:
'We have. The president used the biggest settings he had, in the inaugural address and the State of the Union. In his inaugural address, he said, 'We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.
'The president has been trying to figure out how he can use his executive authority to make some real changes.
'We've been dealing with a Congress where a significant portion of the other party thinks there's no such thing as global warming,' the Vice President added.
According to the Huffington Post, Biden added that the Obama administration has pushed green legislation, including changes to fuel emissions standards and tax programs to spur the clean energy sector.
'If we had a different Congress, I think you'd see a more aggressive emissions legislation,' he said.
'The thing I'm proudest of that we were able to get done in the first term was the Recovery Act. It had $90 billion in clean-energy programs. We had a lot of money going into research and development, and also tax credits for wind and solar energy. Republicans say to me, 'That's not government's role,' and I say, 'Why in the devil do you think we have the investment tax credit you guys get for drilling for oil? How did that start?'
'The reason it started was six, seven decades ago, we didn't have the technology to know how many dry wells you had to dig before you hit a gusher, so we rewarded people for going out and exploring. We still spend $4 billion a year on that – and they don't even need it anymore. And yet they fight us on renewable-energy tax credits.'
Biden admitted there is no significant push to produce a carbon tax, 'because we know it will go nowhere,' but he added that the administration is partnering with other nations to curb emission.
'Theoretically, it would be nice not to have any carbon fuels,' he said. 'But natural gas is a hell of a lot less polluting.'
But Biden was resolute that the administration would act on signature green issues.
'I don't intend on ending this four years without getting an awful lot more done,' he said. 'There is science in the White House.'
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore