Practically none of the Republican party’s presidential candidates believe in man-made climate change, but frontrunner Jeb Bush last week said he will “continue to embrace the reduction of carbon emissions”.
Following his address to the Faith & Freedom Coalition on June 18, Bush was asked if he would follow the lead of his father George HW Bush, who during his presidency spoke strongly on the subject of climate change.
The former Florida governor responded: “I will continue to embrace the reduction of carbon emissions that have taken place”.
In the back-and-forth, recorded by political webseries The Undercurrent, Bush was also asked to weigh in on the climate-centric encyclical unveiled last week by Pope Francis.
Bush, who converted to Catholicism when he married 20 years ago, spoke neutrally: “He has every right to have a view on it.”
Earlier that week, Bush had been critical of the Pope’s intervention, saying it would have no bearing on his politics.
“I hope I’m not going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home, but I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinal or my pope,” he said.
“I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting in the political realm.”
Santorum, Jindal and the rest of the Republicans
At the event, Greenpeace quizzed two other leading Republican figures about climate change and the encyclical.
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, a strict Catholic, twice avoided the climate questions — and looked awfully awkward doing so. Santorum has previously been critical of the Pope’s encyclical, saying the “the Church is probably better off leaving science to the scientists.”
This video, in which Fox News anchor Chris Wallace challenges Santorum on that comment, is a thing of beauty.
And then there’s Bobby Jindal, the current Governor of Louisiana. Jindal, who was once tipped for GOP-success, was similarly evasive of Greenpeace’s line of questions.
He first claimed to to have already commented on the encyclical, and then, when asked about the vulnerability of Louisiana coastal communities, said: “We’ve made record investments on coastal restorations.”
According to Think Progress, only two Republican presidential candidates believe in man-made climate change — and neither of them is likely to win the nomination.
Despite this consensus on the Right, which may mean the issue doesn’t factor in the primary fight, climate change is shaping up to be pretty pivotal in the eventual election.
Probable Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has placed it alongside jobs as the basis of her political platform.