WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The four leading Republican candidates for North Carolina's Senate seat all agreed that climate change is not a fact, leaving some environmental leaders in our area concerned about the well being of the state's environmental status.
State House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tea Party member Greg Brannon, Charlotte pastor Mark Harris, and nurse practitioner Heather Grant participated in the first televised debate of the primary campaign on Tuesday night in Charlotte.
When the moderator asked "Is climate change a fact?" the answers from the candidates were all the same, "no," although Brannon did add "God controls the climate" to his response.
Some environmentalists in our area found it strange that none of the candidates believe that climate change is a fact. Dr. Lawrence Cahoon has written 95 peer-reviewed papers in his 32 years of teaching Marine Biology at UNCW. He's also published just as many articles, chapters, and scientific studies.
Cahoon cited what he called "convincing evidence" that climate change and global warming are real and that humans are causing them to happen.
"The question about whether climate change is real or not is not up for debate," Cahoon said. "The data is convincing and these folks are wrong."
Cahoon was concerned at hearing the responses in Tuesday's forum, which are similar to what more than half of the current Congressional Republicans have gone on record as saying.
"It's kind of like being in favor of a flat Earth. That's how bizarre this is," Cahoon said comparing the two. "I would expect more maturity and critical thinking skills from candidates who are vying for a Senate seat. This is pretty disturbing."
At the national level, more than 58 percent of Congressional Republicans throughout the House and Senate have gone on record denying that climate change is happening. Meanwhile, in a study completed six years ago, 24 percent of Democrats also denied that climate change is a real thing.
Tuesday's debate was the first of three forums across the state.
On May 6 a primary election will determine which candidate will face off against incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) in the fall.
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