The questioning of Blackburn came during a discussion on Scott Pruitt, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency and a skeptic of climate-change science.
Cuomo asked Blackburn, vice chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, for her views on Pruitt and whether he would “be someone who denies” the “basic science” of climate change.
Blackburn said Pruitt “understands” the “heavy burden” the EPA has placed on businesses across the country through regulation. She said, however, that everyone remained in favor of clean air and water.
“Can you be for clean air and water if you do not believe that man has a hand in global warming?” Cuomo asked.
“Of course you can be a believer in clean air and clean water and realize that when you work at global warming or climate change, as it is now popularly called, that it is cyclical and you have to look at it in terms of centuries, not in terms of decades,” Blackburn said.
The congresswoman added: “And the science around that is not a settled science.”
Cuomo, taken slightly aback, asked Blackburn bluntly if she agreed that human actives “contribute greatly to what is warming our planet over time.”
“Do you accept that?” he asked.
“I think that there are those who would say, ‘No, it is more of a cyclical process.’ There are those that will say that we do think humans have something to do with it,” Blackburn replied.
“It’s not some though, congresswoman,” Cuomo quipped. “You know — it’s an overwhelming scientific consensus on the notion of whether man-made activities negatively impact global warming. It’s not an open debate within the scientific community. It is a big majority and a small group of people that resist it.”
Cuomo reiterated that he was “talking about the basic science” and whether she and Pruitt agreed with it.
“The fact is that there is still debate about that and the participation of human beings in this,” Blackburn said. “We all will agree we want the Earth to stay healthy. We want clean air, we want clean water.”
The congresswoman said, however, that it was important to “make certain that we are able to have the energy that is necessary to fuel a productive economy.”