First, Jeb Bush said he was “not a scientist” when it comes to climate change. Now, he says the scientists are not to be believed.
In comments reported by CNN on Wednesday, the potential 2016 presidential candidate called the science of human-caused climate change “convoluted,” and questioned the degree to which carbon emissions are responsible.
“For the people to say the science is decided on this is really arrogant, to be honest with you,” he reportedly said. “It’s this intellectual arrogance that now you can’t have a conversation about it, even.”
Of the climate scientists who actively publish research, 97 percent agree that humans cause climate change. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — which draws on the knowledge of almost 800 climate experts across the globe — says it is at least 95 percent likely that human activities are the main cause of atmospheric and ocean warming since the 1950s.
In the scientific world, a 97 percent rate of agreement does amount to a consensus. No scientific issue is 100 percent certain; Indeed, there are similarly small percentages of researchers who think the HIV virus does not cause AIDS, and that smoking cigarettes does not cause cancer.
But policy decisions surrounding the human health risks of HIV and cigarettes don’t take into consideration the very small percentage of scientists with contrary opinions, because a percentage of consensus in the high nineties is as close to certainty as most science ever gets.
Still, the three percent rate of scientific uncertainty when it comes to whether humans cause climate change is what most prominent conservatives have relied upon when questioning the reality of the phenomenon. That fact has led many (including this publication) to brand the Republican party as “anti-science.”
Interestingly enough, Bush followed up his comments on climate change on Wednesday with a call for conservatives to become better at understanding and embracing science in all its forms.
“Just generally I think as conservatives we should embrace innovation, embrace technology, embrace science,” he said. “Sometimes I sense that we pull back from the embrace of these things. We shouldn’t.”