Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) complained last week that when it comes to President Obama’s climate agenda, “none of things he is proposing would do anything” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The criticism didn’t make much sense, though as it turns out, the far-right senator was just getting started.
“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,” Rubio said in an interview that aired Sunday on ABC’s This Week. “Our climate is always changing.” […]“I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it,” Rubio told ABC News’ Jon Karl after being asked directly whether humans were contributing to the warming of the planet.
The full transcript of the interview is online here. For context, it’s worth noting that Rubio is a member of the Senate Science Committee, is on the subcommittee that deals specifically with science and space, and represents a state facing an extraordinary threat from rising sea levels, but the conservative senator just doesn’t seem moved by the evidence.
Given the severity of the climate crisis, and the extent which global warming is already affecting the planet, most Republicans who want to be taken seriously on the national stage tend to avoid full-on, unabashed, unapologetic climate denialism. But Marco Rubio has a Republican base to impress, so he’s left to say dumb things like, “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.”
A couple of years ago, Rubio was asked how old he thinks the planet is. The senator replied, “I’m not a scientist, man.”
Given how very wrong he is about the basics of climate science, I imagine this won’t be the last time this quote comes up.
There is, of course, a larger context to this. Rubio’s support from the GOP base took a severe hit when the senator worked on a bipartisan immigration bill, which appears to have undermined his backing in advance of a possible presidential campaign.
The far-right Floridian, in other words, is eager to find new ways to show off his conservative bona fides, and apparently, climate denial is part of the strategy.
It’s sad, of course, that a Republican looking for a leadership role has decided the way to get ahead is to deliberately reject science and an intensifying crisis, but the radicalization of GOP politics has produced some deeply unfortunate consequences.
Nevertheless, reality doesn’t much care about pandering and primary positioning. Climate change isn’t a “notion” and the global scientific consensus has vastly more credibility than the confused junior senator from Florida.