Republicans largely ignored California Governor Jerry Brown’s call on the presidential candidates to tackle climate change in the presidential debate on Thursday.
The prime time debate, featuring the top ten candidates in the polls as of Tuesday, failed to mention climate change at all. The earlier “happy hour” debate, featuring the remaining candidates, mentioned climate change once–when it was brought up by the moderator.
In a letter addressed to Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, and uploaded to the Fox News Channel’s Facebook page, Brown asked: “Given the challenge and the stakes, my question for you is simple: What are you going to do about it? What is your plan to deal with the threat of climate change?” (Original emphasis.)
The only candidate to deal with the issue of climate change was Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who was prompted by moderator Bill Hemmer. Here is their exchange:
HEMMER: Senator Lindsey Graham, you worked with Democrats and President Obama when it came to climate change, something you know is extremely unpopular with conservative Republicans.
How can they trust you based on that record?
GRAHAM: You can trust me to do the following: that when I get on change with Hillary Clinton, we won’t be debating about the science, we’ll be debating about the solutions. In her world, cap- and-trade would dominate, that we will destroy the economy in the name of helping the environment. In my world, we’ll focus on energy independence and a clean environment.
When it comes to fossil fuels, we’re going to find more here and use less. Over time, we’re going to become energy independent. I am tired of sending $300 billion overseas to buy oil from people who hate our guts. The choice between a weak economy and a strong environment is a false choice, that is not the choice I’ll offer America.
A healthy environment, a strong economy and energy independent America — that would be the purpose of my presidency, is break the strangle hold that people enjoy on fossil fuels who hate our guts.
Brown made climate change one of the three points in a presidential agenda he presented earlier this year on NBC News’ Meet the Press. He told Chuck Todd he would run if he were ten years younger–without specifically ruling out a presidential run in 2016.