17 Republican presidential candidates were questioned for three hours in two debates last night but less than one minute was devoted to environmental issues. The science of climate change, a popular Republican talking point, received attention from only one candidate. Pollution was not mentioned, neither water nor air. The California drought and wildfires were not raised. Former Arkansas Governor Huckabee was invited to comment on abolishing the EPA, but demurred. Only former Florida Governor Jeb Bush cited the XL Pipeline, and briefly.
Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker mentioned energy in a passing few words. South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham gave it 30 seconds more air time when Bill Hemmer questioned him about his position on climate change during the earlier, five o’clock debate of seven candidates who ranked lowest in the polls.
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 stage 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
The only other notable exchange came when Chris Wallace asked Jeb Bush how he would grow the economy and create jobs. The candidate included the energy sector in his answer:
Bush: You embrace the energy revolution in our country. This president and Hillary Clinton, who can’t even say she’s for the XL Pipeline even after she’s left? Give me a break. Of course we’re for it.
For the full transcript of the five o’clock debate follow this link.
For the full transcript of the nine o’clock debate follow this link.