During his Republican National Convention speech, made from Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Mr Pence opened by saying: "Before I go further, allow me to say a word to families and communities in the path of Hurricane Laura. My prayers are with you tonight."
He continued: "This is a serious storm, and we urge all of those in the affected areas to heat [sic] state and local authorities."
The hurricane barrelled into the Gulf coastline in the early hours of Thursday, with sustained 150mph winds. Officials warned it would bring an "unsurvivable" storm surge as high as 20ft for coastal areas. Authorities had urged residents on the coast to evacuate, but not everyone did before winds started buffeting trees and thousands of homes and businesses lost power. So far one fatality has been reported.
According to Climate.gov, the site operated by the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, increased global heating is likely to increase "the number of very intense hurricanes", along with the rainfall rates. "Rising sea level will increase the threat of storm surge," the site notes.
During his speech to make the case for re-election, Mr Pence attacked rival candidate Joe Biden and scorned efforts to tackle the climate crisis while heaping praise on President Trump's bolstering of the fossil fuel industry.
Mr Pence said: "Where this president achieved energy independence for the United States, Joe Biden would abolish fossil fuels, end fracking and impose a regime of climate change regulations that would dramatically change the cost of living for working families."
Mr Pence, along with the president and a host of elected Republicans have repeatedly shared disinformation, cast doubt on the severity of the climate crisis, and lauded the fossil fuel industry which has been largely responsible for global heating. This is despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary and the country's top defense and intelligence officials declaring it a threat to national security.
Climate activists blasted the vice president's remarks. Jamie Henn, director of Fossil Free Media, tweeted: "3 nights. 69 speakers. Now just one mention of climate change: Mike Pence saying they won’t pass a “regime of climate change regulations.” Meanwhile...well, just watch the weather channel" - linking to a splitscreen of a satellite image of the hurricane and the wildfires raging in the west.
Lori Lodes, executive director of Climate Power, tweeted: "Just a climate denier accepting his renomination as VP as a devastating hurricane is about to make landfall. Enough #thoughtsandprayers. We need action."
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