GOP candidates respond to climate change question at CNN debate

debateToward the end of the GOP presidential debate last night on CNN, moderator Jake Tapper pressed the Republican candidates on climate change, likening it to Reagan’s response to the ozone layer. Tapper asked Senator Marco Rubio, “Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state, George Shultz, says Ronald Reagan urged skeptics in industry to come up with a plan. He said, do it as an insurance policy in case the scientists are right. Secretary Shultz asks, why not take out an insurance policy and approach climate change the Reagan way?”

“We’re not going to destroy our economy the way the left-wing government that we are under now wants to do,” Rubio said. “I am not in favor of any policies that make America a harder place for people to live, or to work, or to raise their families. Every proposal they [Obama administration] put forward are going to be proposals that will make it harder to do business in America, that will make it harder to create jobs in America.

“Single parents are already struggling across this country to provide for their families. Maybe a billionaire here in California can afford an increase in their utility rates, but a working family in Tampa, Florida, or anywhere across this country cannot afford it.”

Rubio went on to say, “So we are not going to destroy our economy. We are not going to make America a harder place to create jobs in order to pursue policies that will do absolutely nothing, nothing to change our climate, to change our weather, because America is a lot of things — the greatest country in the world, absolutely — but America is not a planet.”

Christie followed up on Rubio’s comments. Christie in the past has said that he believed climate change is real and humans are to blame. But at the debate last night, Christie went full circle and said, “I don’t think Senator Rubio is a skeptic of climate change. I think what Senator Rubio said I agree with. That in fact we don’t need this massive government intervention to deal with the problem. … I agree with Marco. We shouldn’t be destroying our economy in order to chase some wild left-wing idea that somehow us by ourselves is going to fix the climate. We can contribute to that and be economically sound.”

Rubio came back in and said “Here is what I’m skeptical of. I’m skeptical of the decisions that the left wants us to make, because I know the impact those are going to have and they’re all going to be on our economy. They will not do a thing to lower the rise of the sea. They will not do a thing to cure the drought here in California. But what they will do is they will make America a more expensive place to create jobs.

“And today with millions of people watching this broadcast that are struggling paycheck to paycheck that do not know how they’re going to pay their bills at the end of this month, I’m not in favor of anything that is going to make it harder for them to raise their family.”

This gave Walker an opportunity to get in on the conversation, pretty much mimicking Rubio and Christie’s answers. Walker told the viewers that the policies currently being put forth by the current administration to address climate change will tank the already fragile job market and ruin the manufacturing base that supports his state.

“So we’re going to put [at risk] thousands and thousands of jobs in my state,” Governor Walker said. “I think it’s something like 30,000 in Ohio, other states across this country, we’re going to put people — manufacturing jobs, the kind of jobs that are far greater than minimum wage, this administration is willing to put at risk for something its own EPA says is marginal.”

EPA head Gina McCarthy reluctantly admitted to a House Select Committee that Obama’s Clean Power Plan would only avert warming by .01 degrees. McCarthy said the primary goal of the Clean Power Plan was to show strong domestic action which can trigger strong global action, e.g., getting other countries to follow our lead.

CNN hosted last night’s debate in the Ronald Reagen Presidential Library in California, a state being devastated by a four-year-long drought. Scientists from NOAA as well as studies published in peer-reviewed journals have already stated that global warming has nothing to do with state’s water woes.

In fact, a study published in the American Meteorological Society journal said the drought was “not unprecedented” over the past 440 years and that nine other droughts were as bad or worse. Past dry periods have lasted for over 200 years and “researchers have documented multiple droughts in California that lasted 10 or 20 years in a row during the past 1,000 years.”

Recently, California’s legislature rejected Governor Brown’s latest attempts to impose draconian measures to fight so-called global warming. In a major setback for Gov. Brown, “legislative leaders on [Sept 9] abandoned an effort to require a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use in motor vehicles by 2030.”

The top reason for dropping the mandate was the inability of middle- and low-income families to afford higher gasoline prices, which increase the cost of food, disposables, traveling, and anything reliant on petroleum-based infrastructures. Other reasons stated by the legislature for killing the measure were to prevent job losses and help people maintain their standard of living.

As an aside, when Reagan said to take out an “insurance policy” in case the scientists are right about the depletion of the ozone layer from CFCs (chlorofluorocarbon), it was not a far-flung theory as Jake Tapper insinuated. As early as 1973, it was established that CFCs were the cause of ozone depletion and accepted fact in the late 1970s. You can read more about the history and regulation of CFCs here.