CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has always been doubtful of the idea that man-made climate change is real. Back in 2010, the then-Senate hopeful said that he didn’t “think there’s the scientific evidence to justify” consensus that climate change is real, and caused by humans. Last week, he added that he thinks it’s an “enormous stretch” to attribute current weather incidents to climate change.
But on Sunday, Rubio flew his climate denier denier flag high and proud, stating that, “I don’t agree with the notion that some are putting out there, including scientists, that somehow, there are actions we can take today that would actually have an impact on what’s happening in our climate. Our climate is always changing. And what they have chosen to do is take a handful of decades of research and — and say that this is now evidence of a longer-term trend that’s directly and almost solely attributable to manmade activity.”
The comments came during the same interview in which Rubio said he was ready to be president.
“I have no problem with taking mitigation activity,” Rubio went on. “What I have a problem with is these changes to our law that somehow politicians say are going to change our weather. That’s absurd.”
Rubio is likely referring to new regulations on energy plant emissions proposed by President Obama this year. The Environmental Protection Agency’s new emissions standards seek to limit the amount of carbon — the most common greenhouse gas contributing to climate change — emitted by coal plants. The coal industry, and its political backers, are up in arms over the regulations, which they have deemed part of President Obama’s ‘war on coal.’
Winning over supporters of coal and other fossil fuels is undoubtedly a strategic need for Rubio, should he run for president. The fossil fuel industry — and notably oil-rich brothers Charles and David Koch — pour tens of millions of dollars into political elections every year.
Of course, Rubio should also consider the support of his home state, which is ground zero for climate change impacts in the United States, specifically sea level rise, storm surges, and stronger storms. The National Climate Assessment, which came out this week, calls out Rubio’s home state by name for the terrible future climate change has in store for it: “There is an imminent threat of increased inland flooding during heavy rain events in low-lying coastal areas such as southeast Florida, where just inches of sea level rise will impair the capacity of stormwater drainage systems to empty into the ocean,” the report says. “Drainage problems are already being experienced in many locations during seasonal high tides, heavy rains, and storm surge events.”
Scientists have previously declared that the city of Miami is “doomed” and that it’s “not a question of if. It’s a question of when.” And these scientists — who Rubio now has declared he does not believe — are not a small minority. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is real, and that humans are driving it.