Republican Senator Marco Rubio’s (Member of the Senate Committee On Commerce, Science, & Transportation) recent comments about climate change have slid under the radar and they shouldn’t.
For a guy that represents a state with 1,197 miles of coastline to just throw up his hands and say there’s nothing we can do anyway is quite embarrassing for any Floridian. As the article below cites, current projections show that in the next 100 years some of the most beautiful parts of the state he represents, the Florida Keys, will be completely underwater if nothing is done. Second, that someone who denies all science pointing to man’s role in this sits on the Commerce, Science and Technology Committee is an absolute outrage. It goes to show what happens any time you vote for any Republican. Doesn’t matter how rational or reasonable the guy you are voting for may be (and there are precious few of those left in the GOP), a vote for any Republican is a vote against facts, truth, and science.
But, I think there is a larger fundamental issue here - it shows just how ridiculous the GOP talk of “rebranding” really is. I don’t think Sen. Rubio really believes that man has absolutely nothing to do with the temperatures we are seeing, the rapid fire storms of the century, or the melting of the polar ice caps. As the article below points out, in his early career he embraced capping carbon emissions and alternative energy technology. I highly doubt that he truly is a young Earther. But I do believe that he knows his political career as a Republican would be completely over if he acknowledged that the universe we live in is billions of years old or that there are steps that can be taken to curb climate change. He needs the rubes to make phone calls, donate money and knock on doors for him in 2016. The Republican base is made up of people who refuse to acknowledge science - whether it’s because of their religion, their hatred of Al Gore, or just willful ignorance - no Republican can move up the ladder without catering to those folks.
How can you rebrand when that would mean you lose your entire base? You can’t, and the Republican Party knows it.
Tampa Bay Times
While much of the Washington news media were fawning over Sen. Marco Rubio’s knowledge of rap music (Tupac over Biggie, he says), his remarks questioning global warming at an event Tuesday drew more serious discussion.
“First of all, the climate is always changing. That’s not the fundamental question,” Rubio said when asked at a BuzzFeed event if global warming is a threat to Florida. “The fundamental question is whether man-made activity is what’s contributing most to it. I understand that people say there is a significant scientific consensus on that issue, but I’ve actually seen reasonable debate on that principle.”
Rubio, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, went on to question if government could do anything to address the issue, whether it would be too costly or ineffective if other countries do not do the same.
“The United States is a country; it’s not a planet,” he said.
Phil Plait, an astronomer and author, rebutted Rubio in Slate, saying there is no debate among the scientific community. “The truth is, our poles are melting. Nine of the hottest years on record have been in the past decade. Even a study funded by the oil magnate Koch Brothers found the Earth is warming up,” he wrote.
“So, oddly enough, I take exception to what Senator Rubio said. There is no longer reasonable debate. All we see is denial. And the time for debate is long since past anyway; the science is in, and it’s sound science. I’m tired of politicians equivocating and hemming and hawing about global warming. We need to stop fiddling while the world burns, and start putting out this fire.”
Studies have shown global warming would indeed threaten Florida, with rising sea levels bringing flooding, that could cause widespread property damage, saltwater intrusion and other problems.
Under current projections, the Atlantic Ocean would swallow much of the Florida Keys in 100 years, the Miami Herald reported last year, citing a scientific study. Miami-Dade would become a chain of islands.
Rubio, who recently declined to GQ to say how old the Earth is — “I’m not a scientist, man” — has taken on stances that find a comfortable home in his party.
But on climate change, as with other issues, he was once more open to science. During his time in the Florida House, he embraced a plan to develop guidelines to limit carbon emissions and suggested Florida could be a leader in developing alternative technologies.