Here's Where the 2016 Republican Field Stands on Climate Change

Iowa caucus

As Iowans vote today to select their preferred candidate for president, it's worth taking a look at where the leading major Republican contenders stand on the issue of climate change. (Bloomberg BNA has done an in-depth look at each candidate's positions on environment and energy issues).

Businessman Donald Trump: The Republican front-runner has disputed the notion that human activity significantly contributes to climate change. In 2012, Trump wrote, "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive." He has echoed that position throughout his campaign for the presidency, telling radio host Hugh Hewitt that he doubts climate change "in any major fashion exists." 

Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas): The Lone Star State's junior senator has been outspoken in his criticism of climate scientists. "Climate change is not science. It’s religion," Cruz told Glenn Beck in October 2015. He then chaired a Senate hearing in December that attempted to cast doubt on the scientific consensus behind climate change. More than 97 percent of peer-reviewed scientific papers hold that human activity significantly contributes to the problem.

Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.): In a 2014 television interview, Florida's junior senator said, "I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our previous hitclimatenext hit the way these scientists are portraying it." He has steadfastly opposed actions the Obama administration has taken to address climate change. During a Jan. 28 Republican debate, Rubio said, "I do not believe that we have to destroy our economy in order to protect our environment." 

Former Gov. Jeb Bush (Fla.): Unlike some of his Republican rivals, Bush acknowledged the role of human activity in contributing to climate change in an interview with Bloomberg BNA. But the former Florida governor strongly opposes regulatory efforts by President Obama to combat the problem. He insisted in a recently released video that climate change solutions would come from "someone in a garage somewhere" and predicted "the market will work faster" than the federal government. 

Retired Neurosurgeon Ben Carson: Carson has discounted the severity of climate change, indicating he believes temperatures are continually changing. During a campaign appearance, he said the issue had become overly "politicized." He has also encouraged the private sector to work with the federal government and develop environmentally-friendly ways to develop energy resources.  

Gov. Chris Christie (N.J.): New Jersey's two-term governor has acknowledged human beings have an impact on climate change, but does not believe addressing the problem should be a top priority. "The climate has been changing forever and it will always change and man will always contribute to it. It's not a crisis," Christie said during an appearance on MSNBC. 

Gov. John Kasich (Ohio): The Ohio governor has also adopted a more nuanced position, arguing human-driven climate change is a real problem but casting doubt on the science underlying that position. "Do I think that human beings affect it? I do. How much? Not enough for me to go out and cost somebody their job," Kasich said during an October campaign event. 

Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.): Paul has sought to carve out a more nuanced position on climate change than many of his rivals. In January 2015, Kentucky's junior senator joined with 14 other Senate Republicans in voting for an amendment to legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline stating that human activity contributes to climate change. Then, during a November 2015 debate, Paul said "Man may have a role in our climate, but I think nature may also have a role.” He vowed repealing the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan would be among his first acts in office.