The majority of 2016 GOP presidential aspirants fall somewhere in the murky middle when it comes to climate change.
They acknowledge that climate change is a real and likely problematic development. But they’re also hesitant to put the blame squarely on the shoulders of humans and their pollution-creating activities like coal-burning.
“I don’t think the science is clear of what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural. It’s convoluted,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is expected to launch his White House bid on Monday, said last month in New Hampshire.
Fellow Floridian and declared presidential candidate Marco Rubio has followed a similar tack: “Humans are not responsible for climate change in the way some of these people out there are trying to make us believe,” the senator recently said on CBS.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has also said global warming is “real” and that he believes human activity is a contributor to the phenomenon, though to what degree is up for debate.
It’s a tricky balancing act for GOP candidates, who have to contend with the reality that swing voters like independents, millennials and Hispanics tend to be more concerned about the threat of climate change.
According to Pew’s August survey, 44% of independents see global climate change as a major threat to the country (compared to 25% of Republicans); 70% of Hispanics believe the Earth is getting warmer because of human activity (compared to 56% of African-Americans and 44% of whites); and adults 18 to 29 years old are most likely to say global warming is man-made.