Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is one of the only Republican presidential candidates who publicly accepts mainstream climate science. At Wednesday night’s CNBC undercard debate, he was forced to explain why.
“You’ve said you believe climate change is real,” CNBC debate moderator Carl Quintanilla asked before listing a few more positions Graham holds. “Are you in the wrong party’s debate?”
Graham responded by suggesting that accepting mainstream science does not make him a Democrat.
“No, I think I’m trying to solve problems that somebody’s gotta solve,” Graham retorted.
Graham then soberly described his experiences personally speaking to climate scientists, and said he wanted to figure out a Republican solution to the problem.
“You don’t have to believe that climate change is real. [But] I have been to the Antarctic, I have been to Alaska,” he said. “I’m not a scientist, and I’ve got the grades to prove it. But I’ve talked to the climatologists of the world, and 90 percent of them are telling me tat the greenhouse gas effect is real. That we’re heating up the planet. I just want a solution that would be good for the economy that doesn’t destroy it.”
This is not the first time Graham has challenged his party on climate change. In an interview this summer, he accused fellow Republicans of not having a real platform on the environment.
“Here’s a question you need to ask everybody running as a Republican: What is the environmental policy of the Republican party?” he asked at the time. “When I ask that question, I get a blank stare.”
Most other Republican presidential candidates have refused to publicly accept mainstream climate change. Marco Rubio has said “there’s no consensus”; Ted Cruz says people who believe in climate change are like “flat-Earthers;” Rand Paul has said the idea that humans cause climate change is “alarmist stuff;” and Ben Carson once said “We may be cooling.”