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GOP candidates reject policies intended to address global climate change

‘Why would we put ourselves at a disadvantage?’ asked Sen. Tim Scott.

By Oliver Willis - August 24, 2023
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Nikki Haley, Tim Scott and Doug Burgum at GOP debate August 2023
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) speaks as former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum listen during a Republican presidential primary debate, Aug. 23, 2023, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

In the Republican Party’s first 2024 presidential primary debate on Wednesday, candidates attacked policies intended to combat global climate change and falsely described the crisis as a hoax. These positions are being articulated as global temperatures continue to break records and U.S. states respond to extreme weather conditions stemming from climate change.

When Fox News debate moderator Martha MacCallum asked the candidates to raise their hands if they believed human activities contribute to climate change, none did.

“One of the reasons our country’s declined is because of the way the corporate media treats Republicans versus Democrats,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said, without addressing the issue of climate change.

DeSantis went on to criticize President Joe Biden for telling reporters, “No comment” on Aug. 13 when they asked about wildfires on the island of Maui in Hawaii. In fact, Biden had released a statement on the fires on Aug. 9 offering condolences to families, and visited Hawaii on Tuesday, the day before the debate.

“The climate change agenda is a hoax,” business executive Vivek Ramaswamy said in response to the question. Ramaswamy also claimed that more people have died due to climate change policies than from the effects of climate change.

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley acknowledged that climate change is real but laid the blame on carbon emissions from China and India. Haley also claimed that all tax incentives for businesses involved in clean energy projects have done is to help China.

Sen. Tim Scott (SC) said, “If we want the environment to be better, and we all do, the best thing to do is to bring our jobs home from China.” Scott also said that carbon emissions from the United States have decreased while emissions have increased in African nations, India and China. “Why would we put ourselves at a disadvantage, devastating our own economy?” he asked.

Haley’s and Scott’s claims are unsupported: The United States has historically been and continues to be the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the world. Carbon dioxide emissions from human activity are the biggest contributors to global climate change and increased temperatures.

Experts say that flash droughts stemming from those increased temperatures led to dry conditions that contributed to the wildfires in Hawaii. The official death toll from the fires is over 100, and officials say more than 1,000 people are missing in the region.

Additionally, global temperatures in July 2023 were the highest ever recorded. The southern United States experienced a concentrated sphere of heat described as a “heat dome” for much of the month that met or broke temperature records in multiple states and cities.

Rising ocean temperatures contributed to the creation of Hurricane Hilary. On Aug. 18, Hilary became the first tropical storm to make landfall in California since 1997.

President Joe Biden has prioritized curbing carbon dioxide emissions and has set a goal of a net zero carbon emissions economy for the United States by 2050. The infrastructure act that Biden signed into law is being used to create a nationwide network of electric vehicle chargers, with an eye to cutting the emissions from vehicles that use fossil fuels.

Biden also signed the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, which designated $362 billion to fight climate change, the largest such government commitment in U.S. history.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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