Climate

Lindsey Graham: Why Don’t Republicans Believe The Scientists On Climate Change?

CREDIT: Screenshot/Late Night with Seth Meyers

Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham hit back against members of his party who don’t accept the science behind climate change Tuesday.

During an interview on Late Night, host Seth Meyers asked Graham — who has acknowledged his acceptance of climate change before — whether he was “surprised” that so many Republicans don’t share his views on the subject.

“Well I’m not a scientist,” Graham responded, echoing the numerous lawmakers who have plead ignorant to the mechanisms behind the earth’s weather and climate when asked if they think climate change is happening.

“I know I’m not a scientist,” he continued, “but here’s the problem I’ve got with some people in my party: When you ask the scientists what’s going on, why don’t you believe them? If I went to 10 doctors and nine said, ‘Hey, you’re gonna die,’ and one says ‘You’re fine,’ why would I believe the one guy?”

Graham’s statement hints at the scientific consensus on climate change: 97 percent of climate scientists who actively publish research agree that climate change is happening and is “very likely” caused by man.

If one were to take Graham’s analogy to doctors literally, the number should be even higher — he would go to 30 doctors, and approximately 29 would tell him he was going to die, while the one left over would say he was fine.

Graham’s made the comparison to doctors before. Last month, he called out the rest of his party for not focusing enough on environmental policy.

“When 90 percent of the doctors tell you you’ve got a problem, do you listen to the one?” Graham asked on CNN’s State of the Union.

Graham added during the CNN interview that he does accept climate change and that, if elected president, he would address the carbon dioxide emissions that cause it in a “buisiness-friendly” way.

Graham’s acceptance of climate science distances himself from the rest of the Republican contenders. When asked about his views on climate change on Late Night with Seth Meyers in May, presidential hopeful Ted Cruz said that, according to satellite data, the earth hadn’t warmed in the last 17 years, and that a cold spring in New Hampshire bolsters that claim — a description of climate change that’s been debunked. Marco Rubio has said there’s “no consensus” on climate change, and has skirted questions about it in the past. Donald Trump has tweeted multiple times about how snow and cold weather is proof that climate change isn’t happening. Chris Christie has said he thinks climate change is real and that humans “contribute” to it, but there’s not much evidence he’ll act on climate if he’s elected.

Graham hasn’t been perfect on climate — in 2010, he backtracked on a cap-and-trade deal, which ultimately failed. Still, he’s made the issue a bigger part of his campaign than his fellow Republican contenders.