Supreme Court candidate Amy Connie Barrett She refused to disclose whether she accepted the science of climate change, under questioning from Kamala Harris, saying she lacked the experience she should know for sure and described it as a controversial topic that is difficult to get into.

On Wednesday, Barrett coined the recognition of man-made climate change as a political issue, not a science, when it was pressed into her affirmation hearing by the Democratic senator from California.

Barrett said that Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was trying to get her to give an opinion “on a very controversial issue of public debate, and I will not do that.”

Barrett was responding to a series of questions from Harris, including whether she believes the Coronavirus is contagious, whether smoking causes cancer and whether “climate change is happening and threatening the air we breathe and the water we drink.”

A federal appeals court judge responded that she believed coronavirus is contagious and that smoking causes cancer. Harris on the issue of climate change has refused, however, by seeking to “seek an opinion” on “a public policy question, particularly a politically controversial one.”

The exchange occurred During a committee hearing regarding Barrett’s nomination To replace the late Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court.

Scientists say climate change is a reality and that the damage is mostly caused by people burning oil, gas and coal. Climate experts, including federal scientists in the Trump administration, say severe wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters indicate the urgency of global warming.

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President Donald Trump, an avid supporter of the coal, oil and gas industries, routinely questions and mocks the science of climate change, while Democratic challenger Joe Biden proposes a $ 2 trillion plan to wean Americans off fossil fuels to tackle the climate crisis.

The Trump administration is backing away from major efforts under the Obama era to reduce fossil fuel emissions from cars, trucks and power plants. Many will likely end up with environmental and public health rollbacks before the Supreme Court.

On Tuesday, Senator John F. Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana and another committee member considering Barrett’s assertion, also asked Barrett her opinion on a range of issues, including climate change.

Barrett replied, “I’ve read about climate change.”

“And you have some views that you thought about climate change?” Kennedy asked.

“I am definitely not a scholar,” Barrett replied, using a frequent refrain from more conservative Republicans on the issue. “I will not say that I have firm opinions on this subject.”