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US Presidential Candidates' Positions on Climate Change

Clockwise, from top left, Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, in New York, and Bernie Sanders, in Buffalo, and Republican candidates Donald Trump, in Albany, and Ted Cruz, in San Diego, campaign this week.

The White House says the United States is leading global efforts in addressing climate change. But with President Obama’s last term coming to an end, where do the presidential hopefuls stand on climate change?

NBC News reported that Republican candidates Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz have said they do not believe in climate change. While Ohio Governor John Kasich said humans contribute to it.

Meanwhile on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders both agree that climate change is a challenge.

Trump, who spoke on Twitter about this issue in 2012, said "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."

Cruz justified his position by saying that data collected does not show significant temperature changes for the past 18 years.

"If you look at satellite data for the last 18 years, there's been zero warming. ...The satellite says it ain't happening," Cruz said at an event in California last year.

But U.S. scientists said government data, which they said is more reliable than satellites, show that 15 of the 17 years after 1997 have been warmer than 1997 and 2015 was the hottest year on record.

For Sanders, climate change is “the single greatest threat facing our planet.” Sanders’s plan is to “ban fossil fuel lobbyists from working in the White House” and invest in clean and sustainable energy such as clean electricity and solar power.

Clinton, according to NBC, does not call it the “greatest” threat, but said it is “an urgent threat and a defining challenge.”

Her proposal is to increase investment on renewable energy and cut subsidies for fossil fuels. She also wants to set national goals to have 500 million solar panels installed.

Environmental activist Bill Nye told CNN even though people are aware of climate change, more than ever before, there is still a long way to go.

He also criticized Republican presidential candidates and the fossil fuel industry “for not acknowledging the deleterious effects of climate change.”

"There's still a very strong contingent of people who are in denial about climate change," Nye said. "And if you don't believe me, look at the three people currently running for president of the world's most influential country who are ... climate change deniers," Nye said.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.