U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who says he is considering a run for the U.S. presidency, is apparently unsure of where he stands on the issue of climate change.
In an interview broadcast May 12 on ABC News, Rubio said he believes that the climate is changing but added, “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it.”
In fact, Rubio said, the climate has always changed. He disputed that humans can lessen the effects of climate change by changing their behavior.
“What [climate scientists] have chosen to do is take a handful of decades of research and say that this is now evidence of a longer-term trend that’s directly and almost solely attributable to man-made activity,” he said.
Rubio’s comments contradict a recent major U.S. government scientific report that concluded that climate change is “driven primarily by human activity” and is already being felt across the United States. (The report also noted that Florida – which happens to be Rubio’s home state – is particularly vulnerable to coastal storms and flooding if global temperatures continue to rise.)
Two days after his comments to ABC, following a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, Rubio was asked about his climate change comments and was unable to cite a single source for his belief.
And his stance seemed to soften, leaving room for the possibility that human activity does, in fact, contribute to climate change.
Rubio’s answer focused on “cap and trade,” a policy tool that provides incentives to companies that reduce their carbon emissions.
“What I disagree with,” Rubio said, “is the notion if we pass cap and trade, for example, this will stop [climate change] from happening, when in fact half of the new emissions on the planet are coming from developing countries and half of that is coming from one country, China, that isn’t going to follow whatever laws we pass.”
This isn’t the first time Rubio has demonstrated his skepticism of science. In November 2012 he told GQ magazine that the actual age of the Earth is “one of the great mysteries.”
Specifically, he said, "I don't think I'm qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all.”
He also isn’t the first Republican member of Congress to dismiss the fossil record. In October, 2012, Representative Paul Broun (R-GA) said the Earth is no more than 9,000 years old and dismissed evolution as “lies straight from the pit of hell.”
By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com
Andy Tully is a veteran news reporter who is now the news editor for Oilprice.com