Following the unveiling of a bicameral caucus formed to tackle environmental issues and foster science-based policymaking, one of South Carolina's senators urged President Donald Trump to acknowledge the reality of climate change.
"So, I would encourage the president to look at the science, admit that climate change is real, and come up with solutions that do not destroy the economy like the Green New Deal," U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday, responding to a question from the audience. The Republican senator has close ties to the president.
Trump has previously mocked climate change, and in a 2012 tweet – now widely circulated and cited – tied it to China.
"When nine out of 10 scientists say that (carbon dioxide) emissions are creating a greenhouse-gas effect, and the planet is warming up, I believe the nine … not the one," Graham said Wednesday. He went on to say he has taken the issue to heart.
Trump earlier this week delivered a speech regarding his administration's environmental policies and accomplishments, which has since drawn flak. Critics have said the president failed to discuss climate change in the address.
The Roosevelt Conservation Caucus was introduced Wednesday morning by Graham and a handful of other Republican lawmakers. The bloc is named after President Theodore Roosevelt – a Republican who was "one of the great conservationists of our time," according to Graham. Roosevelt is revered for his role in establishing national parks and protected lands.
An announcement related to Wednesday's caucus press conference mentioned climate change once.
"Doubling down on innovation by investing in basic research and development of cleaner, more efficient technologies, including nuclear energy, storage, and carbon capture to address climate change," reads a bullet point.
"Climate change is real," U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, said Wednesday.
An innovative approach – not a regulatory approach – should be taken when it comes to climate change, Graham said.
"You really don't have to ground all the airplanes and kill all the cows to have a healthy environment," the senator said, emphasizing the importance of private-sector ingenuity.
"We will win the solution debate," he said prior, "but the only way you're going to win that debate is to admit you got a problem."