In Their Own Words: GOP Candidates And Science (NPR Re-Post)

Jon Huntsman’s recent tweet on science might not stand out in some crowds: “I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy,” the former Utah governor wrote on Aug. 18. But among his fellow contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, Huntsman’s declaration in support of both evolution and human-caused global warming made him an outlier. We compiled the Republican candidates’ recent statements on climate change and evolution, and for comparison, included the consensus view among mainstream scientists and educators.

  • On Climate Change
  • On Evolution
Scientific Consensus A long list of individual scientists and scientific societies, including the National Academy of Sciences, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have released statements in recent years affirming a growing consensus that the globe is warming and human activity is to blame.

Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver. Statement on climate change from 18 scientific associations

Michele Bachmann

Carbon dioxide is not a harmful gas; it is a harmless gas … And yet we’re being told that we have to reduce this natural substance and reduce the American standard of living to create an arbitrary reduction in something that is naturally occurring in the Earth. — House floor speech, April 22, 2009

I think all these issues have to be settled on the base of real science, not manufactured science. — When asked about the “man-made climate change myth” and “green jobs”
at a campaign event in Spartanburg, S.C., Aug. 16, 2011

Herman Cain

I don’t believe … global warming is real. Do we have climate change? Yes. Is it a crisis? No. … Because the science, the real science, doesn’t say that we have any major crisis or threat when it comes to climate change. — CBS News, June 9, 2011

Newt Gingrich

Oh, sure … I was trying to make a point that we shouldn’t be afraid to debate the left, even on the environment. That was obviously misconstrued, and that’s one of the things I probably won’t do again. — On WGIR-AM in New Hampshire on July 26, 2011, when host Paul Westcott asked if he regretted appearing in a 2006 television ad with then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the “We Can Solve It” campaign against global warming

Jon Huntsman

I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy. — Twitter, Aug. 18, 2011

The minute that the Republican Party becomes the … anti-science party, we have a huge problem. We lose a whole lot of people that would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012. — ABC News’ “This Week,” Aug. 21, 2011

Ron Paul

While it is evident that the human right to produce and use energy does not extend to activities that actually endanger the climate of the Earth upon which we all depend, bogus claims about climate dangers should not be used as a justification to further limit the American people’s freedom. — Speech on House floor opposing
cap-and-trade legislation, June 4, 2009

Rick Perry

I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling in to their projects. I think we’re seeing it almost weekly or even daily, scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change. — Campaign stop in New Hampshire, Aug. 17, 2011

Mitt Romney

I don’t speak for the scientific community, of course. But I believe the world’s getting warmer. I can’t prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And No. 2, I believe that humans contribute to that … so I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and the global warming that you’re seeing. — Reuters, June 3, 2011

Do I think the world’s getting hotter? Yeah, I don’t know that, but I think that it is. I don’t know if it’s mostly caused by humans … What I’m not willing to do is spend trillions of dollars on something I don’t know the answer to. — Campaign stop in New Hampshire, August 24, 2011

Rick Santorum

I believe the Earth gets warmer, and I also believe the Earth gets cooler. And I think history points out that it does that, and that the idea that man, through the production of CO2 — which is a trace gas in the atmosphere, and the man-made part of that trace gas is itself a trace gas — is somehow responsible for climate change is, I think, just patently absurd when you consider all the other factors, El Niño, La Niña, sunspots, moisture in the air. … To me, this is an opportunity for the left to create — it’s really a beautifully concocted scheme because they know that the Earth is gonna cool and warm. — The Rush Limbaugh Show, June 8, 2011


About Scott Brophy
Scott Brophy is a philosophy professor whose work is focused on the intersection of philosophy and public policy, especially on environmental issues, law, and education. He has also taught philosophy of science, logic, and the history of philosophy. He has served as a consultant for educational programs and schools throughout the U.S. and abroad, and as an adviser to several philanthropic foundations.

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