WATCH: Sen. Kelly Joins CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ to Discuss Arizona’s Leadership on Climate and the Importance of Continuing Support for Ukraine

Yesterday, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly joined CNN’s Jake Tapper on ‘State of the Union’ to discuss Arizona’s position at the frontlines of both the challenges and the solutions to climate change, as well as the importance of continued U.S. support for Ukraine.   

During the interview, Kelly highlighted how Arizonans are suffering under more frequent periods of extreme heat, as a result of climate change, and touted Arizona’s leadership in the clean energy economy. Kelly also discussed the role that training Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets could play in Ukraine’s defense against Russia. In March, Kelly wrote to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, asking him to quickly assess a range of factors necessary to successfully facilitate the transfer of F-16s. 

Sen. Kelly discusses the impacts of climate change on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’

Click here to watch the complete interview. See key excerpts below:

On the need for bipartisan action to tackle climate change:  

When I went into space four times, I could see how thin the atmosphere is over this planet. It’s as thin as a contact lens on an eyeball, and we’ve got to do a better job taking care of it. […] We passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which is a big down payment on reducing the amount of carbon we put up into the atmosphere. That will make a difference over time. We obviously have to do more.  

On Arizona’s leadership in the clean energy economy:  

We’ve got to continue to work towards reducing the amount of carbon dioxide we’re putting in the atmosphere. We’re taking some steps here in Arizona. We’ve got a company called Li-Cycle that’s recycling the components that go into batteries to help us really enable this renewable energy economy. We’ve got a company called KORE Power that’s building utility-scale batteries that’s going to help us transition to solar power instead of using fossil fuels. So, these are very positive things, enabled by the legislation that we passed in the last congress.  

On training Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 jets:   

Well, Jake, an F-16 is not like training somebody on how to use a 777 Howitzer. It’s a lot more complex. They have got to stand up essentially a squadron to do the training, they’ve got to get airplanes there to train the Ukrainian pilots, they’ve got to identify the pilots, they’ve got to come up with a syllabus and then train maintainers. This is going to take some time.  I don’t think it is being slow walked, but the process is a lot longer. The F-16 has incredible capability.