There was very little mention of climate change by either presidential candidate during their first debate Monday night, though that didn’t stop the issue from generating headlines.
Early into the debate, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton said that Republican nominee Donald Trump called climate change a hoax created by the Chinese, which Trump denied.
Scientific American republished a story from ClimateWire on each candidate’s beliefs about climate change, including how each candidate is trying to use their beliefs to generate support:
Donald Trump refuted accusations by Hillary Clinton that he had once described climate change as a Chinese concoction, during a quarrelsome debate last night that set the candidates on a 42-day sprint toward the presidential election.
Twelve minutes into the first face-to-face encounter between the candidates, Clinton raised the issue of climate change by pointing to Trump’s past claims that question the science behind rising temperatures.
“Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese,” Clinton said as Trump interrupted.
“I did not,” Trump said. “I do not say that. I do not say that.”
As Politifact pointed out, Trump did tweet that exact sentiment in 2012. He has since called the tweet a “joke” but has many times since the tweet called climate change a hoax.
Other news organizations – like Rolling Stone and the Los Angeles Times – also pointed out that Trump has said he would make policy decisions based on climate change denial. From Rolling Stone:
Trump’s climate denial is not simply a matter of personal opinion. He has plans to implement that denial official state policy – to disastrous consequences for the planet.
In an effort to clarify the comments on Tuesday morning, Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said that Trump does not believe climate change is man-made.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate, distanced himself from that claim on Tuesday, saying “there’s no question that the activities that take place in this country and in countries around the world have some impact on the environment and some impact on climate.”
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