POLITICS
10/01/2015 05:47 pm ET

Ben Carson Has No Idea What Climate Change Is, But Says We Should Protect The Planet

The retired neurosurgeon says "climate change" is what happens when temperatures fluctuate.

Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson's background as a neurosurgeon doesn't necessarily translate to a decent understanding of climate science.

Carson told an audience at the University of New Hampshire on Wednesday that "climate change" is what happens any time temperatures fluctuate.

"Of course there's climate change," Carson said. "Any point in time, temperatures are going up or temperatures are going down. Of course that's happening. When that stops happening, that's when we're in big trouble."

An activist with the environmental group 350 Action recorded the remarks.

Carson, a retired Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon, often mentions his medical background at his campaign events. While the vast majority of the scientific community believes burning fossil fuels is driving the earth's temperatures unnaturally high, Carson doesn't seem to have a strong grasp of the concept.

Carson has previously said that he has not seen any "overwhelming science" demonstrating climate change, which prompted  California Gov. Jerry Brown to send him a flash drive containing the report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Carson recently told Time magazine that he never received the flash drive.

Carson told Time he is "very familiar with the various arguments" about climate change. But "it doesn’t matter about global warming or global cooling," he said, because "at any point in time the earth is getting warmer or colder. That’s not the big factor."

What matters, he said, is the "responsibility to take care of" the earth.  

In his remarks on Wednesday, Carson emphasized that humanity must take care of the planet for future generations.

"What is important is that we recognize that we have an obligation to take care of our environment," Carson said. "I don't care whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, a liberal or a conservative, if you have any thread of decency in you, you want to take care of the environment because you know you have to pass it on to the next generation. There is no reason to make it into a political issue."

The crowd loudly cheered Carson's comment.

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