The week started off with the quick responses to President Obama’s appearance on the news program 60 Minutes, where he defined leadership as including taking action on climate change. Frontrunner Donald Trump tweeted: “President Obama was terrible on @60Minutes tonight. He said CLIMATE CHANGE is the most important thing, not all of the current disasters!”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee reiterated his view that “this president is obsessed with climate change while the rest of the world understands the real danger is Islamic fanaticism. I think he thinks a sunburn is worse than a beheading.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie likewise commented, “the president sees hundreds of thousands of people being murdered in Syria by their own leader, millions more literally running for their lives to other parts of the world, and he talks about climate change.”
This week also found five of the Republican candidates in attendance at the No Labels Problem Solver Convention in Manchester, NH. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham earned the label climate hawk for his impassioned plea for consensus on climate action.
“It is to me, folks, a problem that needs to be solved, not a religion. To my friends on the left who are making this a religion, you’re making a mistake. To my friends on the right who deny the science, tell me why.”
“I’m not a scientist. I made a D in science,” Graham continued. “And when 90 percent of climatologists tells you it’s real, who am I to tell them they don’t know what they are talking about?”
“The trade off is… more nuclear power because it’s a good job creating method of energy and is non-emitting. Exploring for oil and gas in a reasonable way. Pushing low carbon technologies, having the government involved until we can get a foothold on a lower carbon alternative energy economy. And setting carbon targets that would give America clean water and clean air.”
Former New York Gov. George Pataki also gave a strong nod to climate change, asserting, “the solution is not our government raising energy costs on Americans through regulation It’s our government working to empower innovation and technology because when we do something like fracking, when we create the next generation of solar panels that are much cheaper than any other source of energy, we’re not just reducing our emissions, we’re creating a technology we can export to China, we can export to India, allowing them to lower their emissions while we are strengthening our economy.”
Meanwhile, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told the editorial board at the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire that the climate debate in the U.S. had reached “absurd” levels.
“I don’t think anybody in this room knows how much is nature and how much is man,” Paul said. “What I can tell you is, if you read the general lay press, everybody’s like, ‘Oh yeah, it’s all man. It’s 99 percent man.’ They’re convinced of this. They know nothing about (it). It’s a conjecture.”
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on two separate occasions said if the U.S. economy is strong, “we can solve our climate problems” and “we have to have an insurance policy to adapt.”
“The climate’s changing, okay. We’ve got that, and we can adapt to that reality but the simple fact is you can’t hollow out your industrial core to deal with this. You have to grow the economy,” Bush said. “We can solve our climate problems over the long haul and just be prepared for them by growing our economy to [a] far, faster rate and that should be the priority of the next president.”