GOP presidential candidates have a simple message for those skeptical about climate change: Get off the fence.
“We’re going to do our part to help solve the climate crisis,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said on CNN Wednesday.
“It’s going to be tough, but we are going to get it done.”
Paul also vowed to take on the fossil fuel industry, saying the party will be fighting for the “truth and accuracy of the science.”
The Kentucky senator is the first candidate to publicly endorse the concept of carbon pricing.
“As a matter of fact, if I’m president, we’re going the carbon pricing route,” he said, adding that he believes the policy will ultimately be beneficial.
In a sign of how far he’s come in embracing the idea, the 2016 GOP nominee said he is “very comfortable” with his position on carbon pricing and would continue to push for it.
The candidate also expressed support for the Paris Agreement, which seeks to curb global warming and has become a major issue for Democrats.
The deal requires nations to cut emissions to stay in the deal.
Paul said he thinks the deal would work, but said the U.S. should be able to negotiate a “different deal” if we wanted to.
“I think that’s the question of the future, and it’s not clear whether we should be paying the price for this or not,” he told CNN.
“There’s a reason why we’re doing this.
But there’s a lot of money involved.
We should be making our own choices.”
“The truth is, we need to be getting out of the greenhouse gas business,” Paul added.
“If we are not, there’s no hope for us as a species.
The fact that we are a party that has a very limited window to act on climate is unacceptable.”
Paul’s endorsement of carbon-pricing could be an attempt to broaden his appeal to Republicans as he seeks the party’s presidential nomination.
In an interview with CNN, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R, S.C.) said he has “no problem” with the idea of carbon taxes, though he said that they need to go through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
“The reality is that the climate problem is a big one.
There is no doubt about that.
We have to solve it,” Graham said.
“But there are many ways to do it.
Carbon taxes are one of them.
The reality is we have to start by solving the problem.”
But Graham also criticized the “fake news” and “misinformation” that have plagued his party in recent years.
“For some reason, the news is so fake that people are convinced that you are the enemy,” he added.
Paul has been vocal in his support of the Paris climate agreement, and he has made a point of criticizing former President Barack Obama’s handling of the issue.
“Climate change is real.
It is caused by human activity.
The United States should be leading the world in addressing this problem,” he tweeted in 2015.
“Yet, President Obama is delaying action, blocking major climate change initiatives, and failing to act even as his administration’s actions have already caused catastrophic effects.
And now, our planet is in the grips of another ice age.
He has been in office for just two years. “
President Obama has failed to do anything to save the planet.
He has been in office for just two years.
We can all agree that it’s time for a change.”