In an interview Sunday with CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) continued to distance himself from the growing field of GOP presidential candidates when it comes to climate change and environmental policy.
“If I’m president of the United States, we’re going to address climate change, CO2 emissions in a business-friendly way,” Graham said during the interview, noting that he does “believe that climate change is real.”
The interview was taped Saturday in Boone, Iowa, where a number of GOP candidates gathered to attend a “Roast and Ride” event put on by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA). Declared GOP presidential candidates Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Carly Fiorina, and former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), as well as potential candidate Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), attended the event alongside Graham.
When it comes to the environment, however, Graham feels he has little in common with the other GOP nominees.
“Here’s a question you need to ask everybody running as a Republican: What is the environmental policy of the Republican party?” he asked. “When I ask that question, I get a blank stare.”
Though Graham’s own record in shepherding environmentally-friendly policies through Congress is somewhat mixed, he is currently one of only two Republican presidential candidates who accepts the science behind man-made climate change. Candidates like Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have gone on record outwardly denying humanity’s contribution to the problem, and candidates like Fiorina and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) have questioned the basic science behind climate change. Besides Graham, in the Republican presidential field, only former New York governor George Pataki has shown that he accepts the science behind climate change and wants to address the issue.
Within the scientific community, there is a 97 percent consensus that the climate is changing, and that human activity is the cause — scientists are about as sure man-man activity is creating climate change as they are that smoking cigarettes leads to lung cancer.
“When 90 percent of the doctors tell you you’ve got a problem, do you listen to the one?” Graham asked.
In a different interview on Sunday, GOP candidate and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum highlighted the scientific consensus around climate change as evidence against its existence.
“All of this certainty, which is what bothers me about the debate, the idea that science is settled,” Santorum told Fox News Sunday. “Any time you hear a scientist say science is settled, that’s political science, not real science.”