January 14, 2016
Contact: Lindsay Meiman, (347) 460-9082
Ahead of Tonight’s GOP Debate, Denial of Basic Climate Science Reigns Among Candidates and Networks
North Charleston, SC — As Republican presidential candidates prepare for another sure-to-be-entertaining debate, the climate denial among the Party and news networks prevails.
Since the first debate, moderators have asked more than ten times as many non-substantive questions, many about the trivial horserace of the election, than they have about climate change. Even when debate moderators did ask about climate change, the framing was often inaccurate or dismissive, according to a report from Media Matters.
“We know that most of these Republican candidates are stuck on denying basic climate science,” said Yong Jung Cho, Campaign Coordinator with 350.org. “At this point, what is truly baffling is the lack of substantive questions posed from debate moderators and the ignorance of widespread climate justice issues in news coverage. With the looming threat of oil and gas companies drilling off the coast right here in South Carolina, it would be unsettling to not hear even one question posed about climate change.”
While an industry-conducted poll found that South Carolinians support offshore drilling, every single municipality along the state’s coast has passed a referendum against it. Last month, over 400 South Carolina businesses delivered a letter to Governor Nikki Haley, urging her to remove all waters off the state’s coast from consideration for offshore drilling, focusing on the threat this practice would pose to the coastal economy, as well as the potential for devastating effects on ecosystems.
In his final State of the Union address earlier this week, President Obama directly pointed to the misalignment with reality of those who still deny climate change. “Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it,” said the President. “You’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.”
Outside of the election, the majority of Republicans not only believe in human-induced climate change, but also said they would support climate action. Despite this, the Party’s presidential candidates have continuously proven themselves out of sync with reality and the very people they represent. With 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history, the only conceivable insight for this prevailing climate denial can be found in the millions of dollars candidates have received in fossil fuel funding.
350 Action is working in primary states to urge candidates for president to take bold action on climate change by pledging to keep fossil fuels in the ground and support a just transition to a 100% renewable energy future.