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12 Tweets Worth Noting on GOP Debate on Climate and Renewables

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The GOP presidential debate last night took place at the University of Colorado Boulder. The theme of the debate was the economy, and it was moderated by CNBC. Just as with the previous debates, this one was criticized by environmentalists for not focusing enough on climate issues. Specifically, many on Twitter criticized the candidates for not discussing the huge economic impacts of climate change.

“Unchecked climate change will devastate our economy. Full stop," said Tom Steyer of NextGen Climate. "The Republican candidates haven’t presented a plan to address climate change—and so those candidates still aren't ready to be president. The next president simply cannot stand by as climate change hurts our economy, kills jobs and increases costs for American families.”

In the main debate, Chris Christie at least mentioned climate change and "broke the Republican field’s silence on clean energy by talking about the jobs wind and solar create in Iowa and across the nation," as the Sierra Club put it. Christie said he wants to see more investments in renewables from the private sector.

"We worked with the private sector to make solar affordable and available to businesses and individuals in our state," he said. "That's the way we deal with global warming—not through government intervention, not through government taxes, and for God's sake, don't send Washington another dime until they stop wasting the money they are already sending now." Christie also said he was interested in other energy sources, like oil, natural gas and wind.

In the earlier debate, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and former New York Gov. George Pataki both criticized their party for denying the science on climate change. Graham was asked by moderator Carl Quintanilla if he is "in the wrong party's debate" because of his views on climate change.

See what the senator has to say (question begins 50 seconds in):

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Pataki also fielded a question about his views on climate change. He started off by saying, "One of the things that troubles me about the Republican party is too often we challenge science that everyone accepts."

Watch here:

FactCheck did take issue with one of Pataki's claims, though. Pataki said, "There’s one country in the world that has fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the rest of the world. You know what that is? The United States. Our emissions are lower than they were in 1995."

FactCheck responded:

Pataki said that the U.S. is the only country to have reduced its CO2 emissions since 1995. That’s not true—other countries, particularly in Europe, have reduced their emissions over the same time period, some by a greater margin than the U.S.

A spokesman for Pataki clarified in an email that he meant that “the U.S. is the only country in the world that actually emits less carbon than it did in 1995.”

The U.S. has reduced its CO2 emissions since 1995; according to the Energy Information Administration, U.S. emissions were about 5.32 billion metric tons in 1995, and 5.27 billion metric tons in 2012, the latest year with available data. But other countries have also seen CO2 emissions drop over that period.

For example, France’s emissions were about 373 million metric tons in 1995, and that fell to 365 million in 2012. Germany’s emissions fell from 891 million metric tons in 1995 to 788 million in 2012, a greater drop than the 50 million seen in the U.S. Italy, the United Kingdom, Nigeria and several other countries also saw emissions drop.

Because Huckabee is a minister who often speaks about the economy, and most other issues, as a moral issue, many on Twitter took digs at the former governor for not seeing climate change as a moral issue:

Bernie Sanders had this to say last night about the GOP rejecting climate science.

Many conservatives are making a strong case for climate action. Last month, 11 Republican members of Congress, led by Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY), introduced a resolution that put the climate challenge in a broader context of conservation, stewardship, innovation and conservatism. And recent polling from three prominent Republican pollsters shows that a majority of Republicans want climate action and support renewable energy.

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