Candidates continue to split time between early primary and caucus states, appearing in town hall style meetings, rallies and diners to meet with potential voters. Their respective climate messages span the political spectrum.
In New Hampshire, top-polling candidate Dr. Ben Carson assured voters that the climate is changing.
“Is there climate change? Of course there’s climate change,” Carson told an audience member who questioned his position. “Any point in time, temperatures are going up or temperatures are going down. Of course that’s happening. When that stops happening, that’s when we’re in big trouble.” Carson went on to say it is important to protect the environment for the next generation, but “there is no reason to make it into a political issue.”
Meanwhile, in Iowa, Ohio Gov. John Kasich told voters he “just didn’t know enough” about climate change to say how much human activity contributes to it.
“Do I believe there is something called climate change? I do. Do I think that human beings affect it? I do. How much? Not enough for me to go out and cost somebody their job… I just don’t know enough about it.”
In an interview, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said the intent of his campaign is to give “voice to the Republican or the independent who’s looking for a problem solver.” Graham went on to describe the millennial generation as “the most environmentally sensitive group of Americans in history. That’s a good thing… one of the purposes of this campaign is to give voice to younger people who are conservative, but do believe that climate change is real.”
“My party has to embrace science,” former New York Gov. George Pataki told an audience at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. “We can’t be the party who, in the 21st century, doubts vaccines, doubting evolution or denies the fact that human activity is emitting CO2 in the atmosphere and that CO2 is warming the earth.”
Striking a different tone, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told students, faculty and local residents at a rally at the University of North Alabama that he’s “more concerned about a beheading than a sunburn” while in Iowa, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum told students at Briar Cliff University that he does not “buy into a lot of the science, if you will, on the issue of climate change.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio indicated he supports market-based approaches to dealing with climate change. “What I’m not for,” Rubio said, “are unilateral American policies or global policies for that matter that make it harder for our country to grow economically.” Likewise, fellow Floridian and former Gov. Jeb Bush outlined his position on energy subsidies.
“The best way to produce the optimum energy mix in this country, I think is to let markets work,” Bush told Iowa Public Radio.