Several candidates during Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate pushed back after being asked whether they believed "human behavior" was causing climate change.
Little more than 20 minutes into the debate, Fox News co-moderator Bret Baier pointed out that the Biden administration said the Maui wildfires occurred because "climate change amplified the cost of human error."
Co-moderator Martha MacCallum followed by mentioning the recent tropical storm that hit Southern California, relatively hot waters off the coast of Florida and an extreme heatwave in the Southwest.
The eight participating candidates then were shown a video of a young man representing the Young America's Foundation. Alexander Diaz, from Catholic University, wanted to know how the candidates would calm young people's fears that the GOP doesn't care about climate change.
After Diaz's question, MacCallum asked the GOP candidates to raise their hands if they believed "in human behavior causing climate change."
No candidate raised his or her hand before Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke up.
"We are not schoolchildren. Let's have the debate," DeSantis said. "I am happy to take it to start. I don't think that's the way to do it. Let me just say to Alexander this: One of the reasons our country has declined is because the way the corporate media treats Republicans versus Democrats.
"Biden was on the beach while those people [in Maui] were suffering. He was asked about it [and] he said no comment. Are you kidding me? As somebody that has handled disasters in Florida, you've got to be activated, you've got to be there, you've got to be present, you've got to be helping people who are doing this."
After DeSantis said he had not raised his hand to MacCallum's question, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy spoke.
"Let us be honest as Republicans. I'm the only person on the stage who isn't bought and paid for so I can say this," Ramaswamy said. "The climate-change agenda is a hoax. The climate-change agenda is a hoax. And we have to declare independence from it.
"The reality is the anti-carbon agenda is the wet blanket on our economy. The reality is more people are dying of bad climate change policies than they are of actual climate change."
Following a contentious back-and-forth between former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ramaswamy, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley addressed the climate question.
"First of all, we do care about clean air, clean water. We want to see that taken care of, but there's a right way to do it," Haley said. "The right way, is first of all, is climate change real? Yes, it is. But if you want to go and really change the environment, we need to start telling China and India that they have to lower their emissions. That is where our problem is.
"These green subsidies that [President Joe] Biden has put in, all he's done is help China. He doesn't understand all these electric vehicles he's done, half of the batteries for electric vehicles are made in China. That's not helping the environment. You are putting money in China's pocket. Biden did that.”
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott also said China needs to be held accountable.
"If we want the environment to be better, and we all do, the best thing to do is bring our jobs home from China," Scott said. “If we create 10 million new jobs in my 'Made in America' plan we will have a better economy and a better environment.
"America has cut our carbon footprint in half in the last 25 years. The places where they continue to increase, Africa, 950 million people. India over a billion. China over a billion. Why do we put ourselves at a disadvantage? Devastating our own economy. Let's bring our jobs home."
Charlie McCarthy, a writer/editor at Newsmax, has nearly 40 years of experience covering news, sports, and politics.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.