These Presidential Candidates Get an ‘F’ in Climate Science

November 23, 2015, 6:40 PM UTC
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LOST HILLS, CA - MARCH 24: Pump jacks are seen at dawn in an oil field over the Monterey Shale formation where gas and oil extraction using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is on the verge of a boom on March 24, 2014 near Lost Hills, California. Critics of fracking in California cite concerns over water usage and possible chemical pollution of ground water sources as California farmers are forced to leave unprecedented expanses of fields fallow in one of the worst droughts in California history. Concerns also include the possibility of earthquakes triggered by the fracking process which injects water, sand and various chemicals under high pressure into the ground to break the rock to release oil and gas for extraction though a well. The 800-mile-long San Andreas Fault runs north and south on the western side of the Monterey Formation in the Central Valley and is thought to be the most dangerous fault in the nation. Proponents of the fracking boom saying that the expansion of petroleum extraction is good for the economy and security by developing more domestic energy sources and increasing gas and oil exports. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Photo by David McNew via Getty Images

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.

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