Questions Arise Concerning Whether GOP Candidates Remain Climate Skeptics

Published March 15, 2016

An article published by MSNBC reports leading Republican presidential candidates who once denied humans are the cause of global warming are now softening their stance and subtly embracing the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory.

MSNBC advances its claim some candidates are moderating their views on the threat of climate change by pointing to real estate billionaire Donald Trump’s recent appearance on Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends morning show, where he said, “Obviously, I joke [about global warming]. I know much about climate change, and I often joke that this is done for the benefit of China.”

MSNBC contrasts this statement with posts made by Trump on social media site Twitter between 2012 and early 2015, in which he said climate change was a “con job,” a “canard,” a “hoax,” and a concept “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

MSNBC also points to an appearance by Trump on conservative pundit Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, during which Trump, while criticizing President Barack Obama for trying “to solve a problem that I don’t think in any major fashion exists,” seemingly opened the door to the possibility climate change may create, at the very least, small problems in the future.

Trump isn’t the only candidate MSNBC says has reversed his position on climate change. The MSNBC article claims Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) stressed he’s “not skeptical” of climate change at a September 2015 GOP debate, although MSNBC acknowledges Rubio rejected Obama’s particular response to climate change, because Rubio says he is certain Obama’s climate change policies will harm the economy without slowing global warming.

MSNBC contrasts Rubio’s supposed backtracking with statements he made two years ago, in which he denied humans were causing climate change entirely.

“I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate,” Rubio said on ABC News’ This Week in 2014.

MSNBC says the lone holdout among the Republican field is Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R), who MSNBC says has never wavered in his claim climate change is “the perfect pseudo-scientific theory.”

Doesn’t Buy the Premise

Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot, says he does not believe MSNBC’s claim many of the Republican candidates are changing their views on climate change is accurate.

“Let’s start with Trump,” Morano said. “He has not backed away from anything. He made some really silly comments about climate, about how China started it and mocking AGW when it snows, and now [he] sounds perfectly nuanced and sound on the issue.” 

“I don’t see a shift in Trump,” Morano said. 

“Rubio has been a deer in the headlights when it comes to climate change … He makes a reasonable skeptical statement and then seems to back away,” Morano said. 

Morano says Cruz has always been the strongest critic of climate alarmism.

“Cruz is the most well-versed and the strongest candidate who understands global warming issues,” Morano said.

“So the Republican presidential candidates have not really softened their skepticism on global warming,” Morano said. “This is a warmist-mainstream media created narrative [that is] not backed up by facts.” 

Other analysts have also detected little change in leading GOP presidential candidates views on global warming.

“I don’t see any significant changes in the GOP candidates’ positions on climate change,” said Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “I have no idea what Donald Trump may do on climate and energy policy if elected president, since he says a lot of things, but his deeds don’t often match his rhetoric.”

“Sens. Cruz and Rubio have slightly different understandings of climate science, but their policy positions are very close,” said Ebell. “Cruz and Rubio have both said that they will overturn the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules.

“Sen. Cruz promised to withdraw from the Paris Climate Treaty, while Sen. Rubio promised to submit it to the Senate, with the understanding the Senate will defeat ratification,” said Ebell.

Standing Up to the United Nations and EPA

“If any Republican candidate but Cruz is elected president, hopefully a President Trump or Rubio would stand up to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.N. Paris agreement, as well as reverse the EPA regulations,” Morano said. 

Kenneth Artz ([email protected]) writes from Dallas, Texas.