Last month, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) surprised many when he said that climate change is a known occurrence and that human actions have contributed to it.
Graham also said that he would like for the Republican Party to acknowledge the environmental threats and create a solution to counter the Democratic plan to combat climate change, which typically involves an increase in taxes and more government oversight on corporations.
“Before we can be bipartisan we gotta figure out where we are as a party. What is the environmental platform of the Republican Party? I don’t know either,” Graham said in his March speech at an event at the Council on Foreign Relations.
“I’m OK with the science behind climate change. But if you’re not, that’s OK with me. But what is our position about the emissions? What’s our position about the Clean Air Act? What would we do as Republicans to ensure that the next generation enjoys a healthy environment, being good stewards of God’s green earth?,” said Graham.
The senator’s comments are more appealing and alarming to some, depending on what political party one aligns with. Moreover, his comments are receiving more attention, as Graham is one of the many Republicans considering running for president next year. Graham is already being criticized by Republicans for his position on the issue.
“I don’t think anyone is taking Lindsey Graham’s presidential bid too seriously,” said Chris Warren, spokesman for the American Energy Alliance affiliated with well-known Republicans Charles and David Koch. “And from our standpoint, other candidates would do well to stand in contrast to him on energy and environment issues at least as far as his record has shown.”
However, Graham is being praised by politicians as well, just from his opposite party. One of those politicians is U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), considered to be one of the more liberal members of Congress.
“I don’t want to get him in trouble by praising him,” said Sen. Schatz, referring to Graham’s “Yes” vote on Schatz’s climate change legislation from earlier this year. Schatz believed that Sen. Graham’s vote in the affirmative was “very encouraging, and I think it’s about time for real conservative Republican leadership on this.”
Despite Graham’s critics saying he is moving too far to the left, some of his statement suggest otherwise. For example, he stated in his defense of his views on climate change: “From a biblical point of view, we were counseled by God to be good stewards of the environment.”