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Which candidates are most concerned about climate change?

Which candidates are most concerned about climate change?

After four Republican debates, there are still seven candidates who haven't uttered a single word about climate change or what they'd do about it.

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debate republicano

By Mónica Isola Wiesner  @misolaWies

Democrats: 18. Republicans: 10. 

It's the provisional tally of how many mentions of climate change have been made by presidential candidates in the past six televised debates. Half of any mentions by Republicans gave climate change less importance or criticized action by the current government to fight against it.

It is no surprise that Republican candidates are less interested in global warming than are the Democratic candidates. But it's interesting to note that, after four Republican debates, there are still seven candidates who haven't uttered a single word about climate change or what they'd do about it. And the other six have done so only once during the four debates.

Infografía

THE CANDIDATES ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Candidates who have mentioned Climate change during the debates.

To the left, comments downplaying the effects of Climate change or asking to

reduce the actions against it. To the right, comments recognizing that it is important.

Republican candidates (4 debates)

Democratic candidates (2 debates)

Downplay the effects

Recognize it is important

Once

Once

3

2

2

3

4

CLINTON

RUBIO

SANTORUM

CHAFEE

PAUL

WEBB

CHRISTIE

CHRISTIE

O´MALLEY

PATAKI

WALKER

GRAHAM

SANDERS

BUSH

Source: Based on the transcripts/p>

of the debates.

UNIVISION

THE CANDIDATES ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Candidates who have mentioned Climate change during the debates.

To the left, comments downplaying the effects of Climate change or asking to

reduce the actions against it. To the right, comments recognizing that it is important.

Republican candidates (4 debates)

Democratic candidates (2 debates)

Downplay the effects

Recognize it is important

Once

Once

4

3

2

2

3

4

CLINTON

RUBIO

SANTORUM

CHAFEE

PAUL

CHRISTIE

CHRISTIE

WEBB

O´MALLEY

PATAKI

WALKER

GRAHAM

SANDERS

BUSH

Source: Based on the transcripts of the debates.

UNIVISION

THE CANDIDATES ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Candidates who have mentioned Climate change during the debates.

To the left, comments downplaying the effects of Climate change or asking to

reduce the actions against it. To the right, comments recognizing that it is important.

Republican candidates (4 debates)

Democratic candidates (2 debates)

Downplay the effects

Recognize it is important

Once

Once

4

3

2

2

3

4

CLINTON

RUBIO

SANTORUM

CHAFEE

PAUL

CHRISTIE

CHRISTIE

WEBB

O´MALLEY

PATAKI

WALKER

GRAHAM

SANDERS

BUSH

Source: Based on the transcripts of the debates.

UNIVISION


The candidates who have referred to climate problems the most often have been  Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley. All are Democrats and each has done so four times (in two debates). Sanders has given it the most emphasis, as he considers climate change to be “the greatest threat to national security” in the United States. 

O’Malley: “I'm the only candidate, I believe, in either party to do this: to move America forward to a 100 percent clean electric grid by 2050.

Clinton: “We’re going to create more well-paying jobs by investing in infrastructure and clean energy, by making it possible once again to invest in science and research, and taking the opportunity posed by climate change to grow our economy.”

Sanders: “Nothing is going to happen unless we are prepared to deal with campaign finance reform, because the fossil fuel industry is funding the Republican Party, which denies the reality of climate change…”

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 On the other side, the Republican candidates speaking the most about this issue have been  Chris Christie and Rand Paul. Each one mentioned the subject twice during the four debates, mainly with critical comments.

Christie: “We don’t need this massive government intervention to deal with the problem.”

Paul: “While I do think man may have a role in our climate I think nature also has a role. The plant is 4.5 billion years old. We’ve been through geologic age after geologic age. We’ve had times when the temperature has been warmer; we’ve had times when the temperature has been colder. We’ve had times when the carbon in the atmosphere has been higher. So I think before…we need to look before we leap.”

Six other Republican candidates have made reference to the issue once. Among them, Senator Marco Rubio stands out because of his especially critical stance.

Rubio: “We’re not going to destroy our economy the way the left wing government that we’re under now wants to do.” (…) “America is not a planet and we’re not even the largest carbon producer anymore; China is.”

Curiously, no Republican has denied the existence of climate change on camera (even though some may have done so in other settings). There are even two candidates, Lindsey Graham and George Pataki, who emphasized during the debates that human activity was warming up the planet. Nonetheless, most of the rare statements on this issue during the Republican debates have been directed at criticizing the destruction of the economy or what they consider an overreaction in stemming the problem.

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Of all the Republican comments, which one is the most surprising?

Pataki: “One of the things that troubles me about the Republican Party is too often we question science that everyone accepts. I mean, it's ridiculous that in the 21st century we're questioning whether or not vaccines are the appropriate way to go. Of course they are. And it's also not appropriate to think that human activity, putting CO2 into the atmosphere, doesn't make the Earth warmer…” 

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