John Boehner is qualified to lead Congress. But in his mind, he’s apparently not qualified to weigh in on climate change.
“Listen, I’m not qualified to debate the science over climate change,” the House Speaker said at a press conference Thursday. But that doesn’t mean Boehner is withholding his opinions on the Obama administration’s plans to deal with the continuing rise of the Earth’s temperature.
“I am astute to understand that every proposal that has come out of this administration to deal with climate change involves hurting our economy and killing American jobs. That can’t be the prescription for dealing with changes to our environment,” he said.
Boehner made the remarks in response to a reporter asking the Ohio Republican about his previously stated concerns over federal, environmental regulations. “Are there steps you would support to take action against climate change and do you think that’s a problem?” the reporter questioned.
Earlier this month, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida pushed back on the overwhelming scientific evidence to announce that he doesn’t believe human activity causes climate change.
Rubio, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, told ABC: “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.” He added: “Our climate is always changing.”
His comments came just days after the White House issued a report insisting climate change is a potentially catastrophic reality being hastened by human behavior. Boehner’s own “I’m not a scientist” moment comes ahead of new, stricter standards for coal-fired power plants that are expected to be announced by the Obama administration on Monday.
Denying human activity is to blame for the warming of the planet could put lawmakers in good standing with the far right – but not the majority of Americans. According to a poll by Pew Research, two thirds of Americans – 67% – said there is solid evidence that the Earth has been getting warming over the last few decades. However, among Tea Party Republicans, only 25% agreed with that statement.