George Pataki: ‘We Have to Recognize That Human Activity Is Contributing to Climate Change’

By Melanie Arter | October 13, 2015 | 3:54 PM EDT

GOP presidential candidate former New York Gov. George Pataki (AP Photo)

( – GOP presidential candidate former New York Gov. George Pataki told the No Labels Problem Solver Convention in Manchester, N.H., on Monday that he believes in climate change, but differs from President Barack Obama and Democrats on what to do about it.

“And let me tell you something, I hope the stage doesn’t open up. I’m a Republican, and I happen to believe that when we emit CO2 and greenhouse gases, the earth gets warmer, and we have to do something about it,” said Pataki.

“I’m a great believer that if we’re going to have the brilliant optimistic future that we’re all entitled to believe in as Americans, Republicans have to embrace science,” he said. “We can’t be a party that questions facts and issues.”

Pataki also said Republicans should not question evolution and must recognize that human activity contributes to climate change.

“We can’t question evolution, and we have to recognize that human activity is contributing to climate change, and there is a role for government to play in dealing with that issue for the future,” he said.

“Before the Democrats here get too excited, let me to tell you … my solution is going to be very different than President Obama’s or those on the Democratic left, but to have a dialogue about that,” said Pataki, who welcomed former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) to the stage to “see if we can solve this problem in the next 15 minutes.”

When asked why the issue matters so to Pataki, he said, “First of all, it matters to everyone, or it should. It’s about the future of the globe.”

“If we do not deal with the issue of global warming, we are going to have unforeseen consequences that no one here can predict that could have horrible negative impact on future generations’ lives,” Pataki said.

He said he “wouldn’t do it the way Obama’s doing with massive regulations, higher taxes, the heavy hand of government, picking winners or losers, and driving jobs out of America.”

“I would do it in an exactly opposite way, and that is by empowering American innovation, empowering the American belief in dreaming and creating so that our private sector, our university sector, and government all working together could create the next generation of clean energy products that not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but create tens, hundreds of thousands of jobs for America,” Pataki said.

He said if the U.S. and the world weren’t so oil-dependent, totalitarian states like Russia and Iran wouldn’t be so powerful.

“If we didn’t need to be so dependent on things like oil – and not just the United States, if the world didn’t need to be so dependent on things like oil – Russia, Iran, other totalitarian states would see their power greatly diminished, and that helps the United States tremendously,” Pataki said.

“So unleash the creativity, the innovative ability of the American dreamer, thinker, entrepreneur, scientist, and we can have that next generation of energy that doesn’t just reduce slightly reduce greenhouse gases, but allows us to decarbonize our economy while growing jobs,” Pataki added.

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