Climate Change Keeps Coming Up At GOP Campaign Stops -- And People Are Clapping

It's almost never mentioned during the debates.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has taken questions about climate change during his campaign stops in New Hampshire.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has taken questions about climate change during his campaign stops in New Hampshire.
Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- When Dan Kipnis stood up and asked Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) about his plan to address climate change, he thought he might face some angry audience members who didn't like his question. He was shocked to instead find people clapping for him.

"I thought I'd get some boos or something like that," the 65-year-old retired fishing boat captain from Miami Beach told The Huffington Post after Rubio's Sunday town hall in Londonderry. "But you know, these people up here in New Hampshire, they're pretty enlightened."

This event wasn't an isolated incident. Questions about climate change frequently come up at GOP town halls, even though it's an issue that the candidates rarely talk about unprompted and one that almost never comes up during debates.

Kipnis said he was also able to ask former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) a climate change question at a New Hampshire town hall, and he received a similar reception.

"I basically got a standing ovation," he said.

Bush also received a climate change question during his Saturday town hall in Bedford, New Hampshire. This one was from Cindy Lerner, mayor of Pinecrest, Florida. She and 14 other mayors -- a bipartisan group -- recently wrote to Rubio and Bush and asked to meet with them about climate change.

"What we're seeing in Florida and around the country is a very strong, green economy with renewable energy and energy efficiency. And we'd like to see leadership from our next president on this," Lerner said to applause.

"Look, the climate is changing. We have billions of people that live on the planet. We clearly have an impact. To deny it doesn't make sense," Bush replied to more applause, adding that he'd like to meet with the mayors when he's back in Florida.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has also repeatedly received questions on the topic.

Polls show that Republicans increasingly accept the existence of man-made global warming. The differences between the two parties are still wide, however, when it comes to how to address the issue.

Samantha-Jo Roth contributed reporting.

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