Marco Rubio: Human Activity Isn’t Causing Climate Change

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 11 2014 3:58 PM

Marco Rubio: Human Activity Isn’t Causing Climate Change

Marco Rubio isn’t buying it. Even though the White House said last week that climate change is a reality, and the Pentagon has acknowledged it is working on preparing for the effects of a warmer planet, the Republican senator from Florida says he isn’t really worried.

“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.  He added that there’s really nothing that can be done to push back against a warming climate: “I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy.”  Rubio insists that scientists are exaggerating, noting that “our climate is always changing,” adding that “I don’t know of any era in world history where the climate has been stable.” These comments came a few days after Rubio told CNN that President Obama isn’t really qualified to speak on climate change because he is “not a meteorologist.”

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The Miami Herald's Marc Caputo writes that the nuance of Rubio's answer is the key, emphasizing that the senator didn't actually say the concept of man-made climate change is false but rather arguing against "the way these scientists are portraying" the issue. Those who have been following Rubio for years know he has always played "a cautious game with climate change, never outwardly saying that human kind was not playing a role in global warming," writes Caputo.

Although most Americans do not agree with Rubio’s stance on climate change, his views could help him out among the conservative Republicans who play a crucial role in the presidential nomination contest, points out the Los Angeles Times. In the ABC interview, Rubio made no efforts to hide his ambitions to move into the White House when he was asked whether he felt he was ready to be president. “I do … but I think that’s true for multiple other people that would want to run,” Rubio said. “I mean, I’ll be 43 this month, but the other thing that perhaps people don’t realize, I’ve served now in public office for the better part of 14 years.” And Rubio is warming up for the race by attacking Hillary Clinton, saying she deserves an "F" for her tenure at the State Department. “I’m sure she’s going to go out bragging about her time in the State Department. She’s also going to have to be held accountable for its failures, whether it’s the failed reset with Russia or the failure in Benghazi that actually cost lives,” he said.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.