When it comes to the environment, scientists say that eight out of the top nine Republican presidential candidates get a failing grade.
The Associated Press compiled a group of eight scientists chosen by professional scientific societies to fact-check both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates' comments about climate change and rank their scientific accuracy using a scale of 0 to 100. The comments were collected from debates, interviews, and social media and stripped of names to attempt to remove bias.
Ted Cruz got a grade of just 6 points, coming in last. "This individual understands less about science (and climate change) than the average kindergartner," Pennsylvania State meteorology professor Michael Mann commented. "That sort of ignorance would be dangerous in a doorman, let alone a president."
Ben Carson and Donald Trump ranked right above Cruz with scores of 13 and 15 respectively. Jim McCarthy, who is currently a professor at Harvard and was formerly the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, called Trump's comments about climate change "nonsense." Emmanuel Vincent, a climate scientist at the University of California, Merced, reacted to Trump's remarks by saying, "the candidate does not appear to have any commitment to accuracy."
The three Democratic candidates received the highest three scores. Hillary Clinton claimed the top spot with a grade of 94, while Bernie Sanders was the lowest ranking Democratic candidate with an 87, losing points for exaggeration. Jeb Bush came in 23 points below Sanders with the Republican party's best—and only—passing score.
Ground-based data show that 2015 is on track to become the warmest year on record, passing 2014, and the U.S. is responsible for about 17% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Though it's not the largest contributor, geochemist Louisa Bradtmiller tells the AP that policies could help make a significant change globally.