Republicans are talking differently about climate change

“I don’t think it would be wise for a Republican to shut the door on a discussion of climate change,” said Dick Wadhams, a Colorado-based GOP strategist. “But I do think it’s sensible for a Republican candidate to express skepticism about this headlong rush … a lot of Democrats seem to be having to kill the coal industry.”

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Witness Marco Rubio, who like Land similarly argued that the climate is changing but doubted whether humans are the main culprit. Thom Tillis and Joni Ernst, two Republican Senate candidates in purple-hued North Carolina and Iowa, respectively, have also expressed views in shades of gray. Rick Scott, the Republican governor of Florida, has started saying that he’s “not a scientist.”

And that’s when Republicans talk about the science at all: Many, such as Ed Gillespie in Virginia or Cory Gardner in Colorado, opt against saying anything all, instead keeping their focus trained squarely on the effect regulations will have on jobs and electricity bills.

It wasn’t always this way. As recently as 2009, Republican leaders such as then-House Minority Leader John Boehner were publicly mocking climate-change science. Appearing on ABC News’s This Week, Boehner said the notion that carbon dioxide was a carcinogen was “almost comical.”

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