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Where the GOP candidates stand on global warming

Almost all of the Republican presidential candidates are skeptical of the idea that climate change is occurring, humans have a contributing role, and something should be done to reverse it. Here’s a look at their past public statements.


“The climate is changing. I don’t think the science is clear of what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural. It’s convoluted. And for the people to say the science is decided on this is just really arrogant, to be honest with you. It’s this intellectual arrogance that now you can’t have a conversation about it even. The climate is changing, we need to adapt to that reality.” (Bedford, NH town hall, May 20, 2015)


“My attitude is, I don’t think the science is complete. The whole idea that people have already made up their minds about this, they use this argument, it’s all over and anybody that disagrees is a caveman or something. I don’t think that. But I do think we need to create long-term policies of adaptation. Because the climate is changing, whether men are doing it or not — in the case of the sea level rising in Miami — is kind of irrelevant. So that’s where I think the focus ought to be, is to depoliticize this issue and create policies of adaptation.” (Derry, NH, town hall, June 17, 2015)


Carolyn Kaster/Associated press/file

“I don’t agree with the notion that some are putting out there, including scientists, that somehow there are actions we can take today that would actually have an impact on what’s happening in our climate. Our climate is always changing. And what they have chosen to do is take a handful of decades of research and say that this is now evidence of a longer term trend that is directly and almost solely attributable to manmade activity … I do not agree with that. I don’t know of any era in world history where the climate has been stable. Climate is always evolving and natural disasters have always existed … I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it. That’s what I do not, and I don’t think the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy.” (May 11, 2014, ABC News)



“Anybody who’s ever studied any geology knows that over periods of time — long periods of time – that the climate changes, OK? I’m not sure anybody knows exactly why but we have 20, 30, 100,000 year sort of cycles that go on with the climate. It has been much warmer than it is today … They all predicted the poor Statue of Liberty was going to drown within a hundred years, and the polar bears and all this stuff. That alarmist kind of stuff, I think, really detracts from the case that we shouldn’t pollute … What I would say is that someone is an ignoramus who would say that, ‘Oh, we had three hurricanes this year. This proves that somehow the climate is warming.’ The earth’s 4.5 billion years old, and you’re going to say that we had four hurricanes and so it proves a theory? No. I’m not saying that theory is right or wrong. What I would say is there is something that all of us should be in favor of and that is we should minimize pollution.” (University of Chicago Institute of Politics, April 22, 2014)



Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.” (Twitter: Nov 6, 2012)

“This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING [expletive] has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps, and our GW scientists are stuck in ice” (Twitter: Jan 1, 2014)

“Ice storm rolls from Texas to Tennessee — I’m in Los Angeles and it’s freezing. Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!” (Twitter: Dec. 6, 2013)

“I’m a huge believer in clean air. I’m not a huge believer in the global warming phenomenon … There could be some manmade too, I mean, I’m not saying there’s zero, but not nearly to the extent — when Obama gets up and said it’s the number one problem of our country, and if it is, why is it that we have to clean up our factories now when China doesn’t have to do it for another 30 to 35 years?” (CNN, June 28, 2015)


Denis Poroy/Associated Press

“Whether it’s manmade or not, I know that when I was in college I was being taught that if we didn’t act very quickly, that we were going to be entering a global freezing. Go back and look at the covers of Time and Newsweek from the early ’70s. And we were told that if we didn’t do something by 1980, we’d be popsicles. Now we’re told that we’re all burning up. Science is not as settled on that as it is on some things.” (NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” June 21, 2015)



“If you look at global warming alarmists, they don’t like to look at the actual facts and the data. The satellite data demonstrate that there has been no significant warming whatsoever for 17 years. Now that’s a real problem for the global warming alarmists. Because all those computer models on which this whole issue is based predicted significant warming, and yet the satellite data show it ain’t happening … I read this morning a Newsweek article from the 1970s talking about global cooling. And it said the science is clear, it is overwhelming, we are in a major cooling period, and it’s going to cause enormous problems worldwide. ... Now, the data proved to be not backing up that theory. So then all the advocates of global cooling suddenly shifted to global warming, and they advocated it’s warming, and the solution interestingly enough was the exact same solution — government control of the energy sector and every aspect of our lives ... On the global warming alarmists, anyone who actually points to the evidence that disproves their apocalyptical claims, they don’t engage in reasoned debate. What do they do? They scream, ‘You’re a denier.’ They brand you a heretic. Today, the global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-earthers. It used to be — it is accepted scientific wisdom the earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier.” (Texas Tribune, March 24, 2015)



Max Ortiz/The Detroit News/Associated press

“I am a believer — my goodness I am a Republican — I happen to believe there is a problem with climate change. I don’t want to overreact to it, I can’t measure it all, but I respect the creation that the Lord has given us and I want to make sure we protect it. But we can’t overreact to it and make things up, but it is something we have to recognize is a problem … I believe there is something to [climate change], but to be unilaterally doing everything here while China and India are belching and putting us in a noncompetitive position isn’t good, but some of that is the presidential leadership. I am just saying that I am concerned about it, but I am not laying awake at night worrying the sky is falling. I just have a concern about it.” (The Hill, May 2, 2012)


Spencer Platt/Getty Images

“There are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. And I think we’re seeing it almost weekly, or even daily, scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that manmade global warming is what is causing the climate to change. Yes our climate’s changed. They’ve been changing ever since the earth was formed. But I do not buy into a group of scientists who have in some cases found to be manipulating this information… I don’t think, from my perspective, that I want America to be engaged in spending that much money on still a scientific theory that has not been proven. And from my perspective is more and more being put into question.” (Politics and Eggs Breakfast, April 17, 2011)

“It’s all one contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight. Al Gore is a prophet all right, a false prophet of a secular carbon cult.” (“Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington,” by Rick Perry)


“Climate change is real, and it’s impacting our state. There’s undeniable data that CO2 levels and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere are increasing. Decade average temperatures have been rising, and temperature changes are affecting weather patterns and our climate. … when you have over 90 percent of the world’s scientists who have studied this stating that climate change is occurring and that humans play a contributing role, it’s time to defer to the experts.” (Press conference as he announced the state was leaving a regional cap and trade program, May 26, 2011)


Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

“When discussing climate, scientists may agree that some policy change is warranted, but they also agree that action by a single state or nation will make little difference. China and India are the biggest and third-biggest producers, respectively, of carbon dioxide emissions, and their leaders were absent from the recent UN Climate Summit. At a time when American families are still recovering from joblessness and the recession, should the United States commit to an energy policy that puts US jobs, and the economy, at risk?” (Washington Post op-ed, October 24, 2014)


Michael Holahan /The Augusta Chronicle/Associated press

“There are more pressing problems confronting the Earth than climate change. And I would suggest that, particularly when it comes to me as someone who’s trying to go out there and make sure we have a revitalization in manufacturing, to energy production, the things to create jobs and opportunities, that speculative science, which has proven over time not to have checked out, all the predictions that were made 15 years ago, none of them have come true. So, all of this certainty, which is what bothers me about this debate, the idea that science is settled. Any time you hear a scientist say the science is settled, that’s political science, not real science, because no scientists in their right mind would say ever the science is settled.” (Fox News Sunday, June 7, 2015)


Olivier Douliery/Getty Images

“You can ask it several different ways, but my answer is going to be the same. We may be warming. We may be cooling.” (Bloomberg News, Nov 26, 2014)


Paul Kieu/The Daily Advertiser/Associated press

“The climate is absolutely changing, the climate’s always changing. The real question is how much is it changing, what are the consequences of that change. Secondly, yeah, we say in the report, it’s not controversial to say human activity is contributing in some way to change, certainly. In terms of how much and how serious that is, my attitude is let scientist decide that. Politicians don’t need to be deciding that. I would quote Krauthammer, You don’t have to be a climate change believer or denier to actually believe it can’t be good for us to be – there’s nothing wrong in terms of wanting to reduce the emissions coming out of our economy and industry … I would hope it’s not controversial. I’m sure human activity is having an impact on the climate. But I would leave it to the scientists to decide how much, what that means, what are the consequences.” (Christian Science Monitor breakfast, Sept.16, 2014)


Matt Rourke/Associated press

Walker has said little on climate change, but has signed the “No Climate Tax Pledge,” vowing that he would oppose any legislation related to climate change that “includes a net increase in government revenue.”


Rainier Ehrhardt/Associated Press

“Here’s a question you need to ask everybody running as a Republican: What is the environmental policy of the Republican Party? When I ask that question, I get a blank stare. We don’t have an environmental policy. We have an energy policy. If I’m president of the United States, we’re going to address climate change and CO2 emissions in a business-friendly way. We’re going to find oil and gas that we own because we’re going to use fossil fuels for a long time to come, but it’s ok to set lower carbon targets. I do believe that [manmade] climate change is real, I want a business solution to that problem … When 90 percent of the doctors tell you you have a problem, do you listen to the one? At the end of the day I do believe that the CO2 emission problem all over the world is hurting our environment.” (CNN, June 7, 2015)


“Everybody, regardless of which side you come down on on the politics of it, understands that human activity is putting CO2 into the atmosphere and we are changing the makeup of the atmosphere. And we should take reasonable steps consistent with our economic needs to reduce to the extent practicable – like things like solar and wind power – when it works economically to reduce the emissions we are putting into the atmosphere.” (WMUR, July 11, 2015)

Jim Gilmore

Jim Cole/Associated Press

“We know the climate is changing, but we do not know for sure how much is caused by man and how much is part of a natural cycle change. I do believe we must work toward reducing emissions without damaging our fragile economy.” (Virginian Pilot, Oct. 17, 2008)