Among the major topics that will be addressed in the 2016 presidential race, climate change may not be front and center like ISIS or the economy. However, potential and current presidential candidates have been asked about its existence recently, with two prominent Republican senators giving different views on the topic.
On Monday (Mar. 23), U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations where he was asked by an audience member about the Republican Party’s views on global warming. When asked about his own personal views, Sen. Graham's response was somewhat surprising.
“I said that it’s real, that man has contributed to it in a substantial way," Graham said. "But the problem is Al Gore’s turned this thing into a religion. You know, climate change is not a religious problem for me, it’s an economic, it is an environmental problem.
“So I think the Republican Party has to do some soul-searching," he added. "Before we can be bipartisan, we’ve got to figure out where we are as a party. What is the environmental platform of the Republican Party? I don’t know, either.”
Sen. Graham provided a solution for his party to address the controversial issue.
“I’d like to have a debate within the party," Graham said. "Can you say that climate change is a scientifically sound phenomenon? But can you reject that idea you have to destroy the economy to solve the problem, is sort of where I’ll be taking this debate.”
When the Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate this January, a vote was held to affirm that climate change was not a hoax; the vote was 98-1 in favor of the wording. However, the Senate voted down wording that referred to humans causing the change, 59-40.
While Sen. Graham’s beliefs are relieving to some, other Republicans feel the opposite on the issue.
2016 Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R-Texas) recently denied climate change exists in an appearance on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers.
Cruz, who is the first Republican to officially throw his hat into the presidential ring, cited the “snow and ice” in New Hampshire and satellite data showing that the temperature of the earth has stayed relatively stable, reports Mediaite.