Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) accepted the mayor of Miami’s endorsement, but on Thursday he would not accept the mayor’s request that Washington do something about the rising sea levels threatening his city.
During the Republican debate in his home state, Rubio did not fail to dismiss the scientific consensus on climate change.
“Sure the climate is changing, and one of the reason the climate is changing is because the climate has always been changing,” Rubio told CNN’s Jake Tapper. The longer response was classic Rubio. After dismissing the science out of hand, he went on to say that acting on climate change will ruin the U.S. economy. And then, in any case, there is no law that can be passed that would have any effect on climate change, he said.
“The United States is not a planet. It is a country,” he said.
Rubio’s fellow candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, fielded the brief follow up to the question. He touted his questionable record on climate and celebrated renewable energy. The crowd did not clap.
“We’ve reduced emissions by 20 percent,” Kasich said.
In the run up the debate, Floridians — and environmentalists — begged the GOP candidates to address climate change.
A group of more than 20 Florida mayors sent a letter to CNN asking that moderator Jake Tapper bring up climate change at Thursday’s debate. They wrote:
We, the 21 undersigned mayors from throughout Florida, are concerned about sea level rise and climate change and the severe impacts it is having on our communities. We are equally concerned that so little attention has been paid to these issues in the presidential debates. It would be unconscionable for these issues of grave concern for the people of Florida to not be addressed in the upcoming debate you will be hosting in the state. In particular, Senator Rubio represents this state and should not be allowed to fail to provide, or side step, substantive answers to these questions.
The plea was picked up by environmentalists, many of whom spent the afternoon pestering Tapper on Twitter to say something about climate change.
— World Wildlife Fund (@World_Wildlife) March 10, 2016
But when the question came: “Climate change means rising ocean levels, which in south Florida means flooding, downtown and our neighborhoods. It’s an every day problem in our neighborhoods. As president, will you pledge to do something about it?”
And the answer, for the Republican field, was no.
Florida is considered one of the most at-risk states to the effects of climate change, including, of course, rising sea level, which is dooming Miami.