In Iowa, #dare2ask climate crusader Kelsi approaches Santorum and Huckabee

almost 4 years ago

By Kelsi Wolever

Before Thanksgiving, I joined hundreds of others in attending the Presidential Family Forum in downtown Des Moines, braving an early winter storm to get there.

The event began on an uneasy note, with several groups interrupting the forum with their loud and disruptive tactics. After waiting patiently for more than three hours, I was finally given the chance to #dare2ask former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee each a single question:

"Can free enterprise solve climate change?"

I was pleased when Santorum gave an emphatic "yes" to the question can free enterprise can solve climate change.


"I'm a believer," he said. "For every dollar of GDP, China produces five times as much CO2 as we do. So if you want to lower CO2, what do you need to do? You need to take away jobs from China, manufacturing jobs, and move them back to the United States. You want to have the most dramatic impact on CO2, you need to improve the climate of manufacturing and manufacture a lot more in this country. That's the answer, that's the key."

On the other hand, based on a previous interaction with him, I wasn't shocked by Huckabee's incoherent response.

"I'm still trying to figure out exactly when you say climate change, do you mean we're getting colder, we're getting warmer, what do you mean by that?" He added, "Science is divided on that. It's not settled."


He said that people who believe in climate change typically believe in evolution and that "climate change shouldn't be the biggest threat, the biggest threat should be the exploitation of human beings." Before I left, he concluded, "I know what the immediate threat is. I need to be convinced on what the long-term threat is."

To recap, I've now attended two events where I dared to ask seven candidates if free enterprise can solve climate change. In total, six dared to answer my question. Aside from Santorum, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (who has since dropped out of the race) all answered in the affirmative. Huckabee and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz do not acknowledge climate change as a problem that needs solving. Only Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul declined to answer my question, but I will keep pressing him and the rest of the field of presidential hopefuls as Iowa remains the center of candidate activity.

If you care about climate change and free enterprise solutions to solving it, join me. #Dare2Ask the candidates about their climate plan.