For years Rubio has refused to meet with climate change scientists (check our archive) -- even from his own threatened state, Florida. Why the mainstream media has failed to hold Rubio accountable to the simple standard of weighing the evidence is a mystery.
The views that Rubio espouses on climate change make him unelectable nationally but don't stop him or his advisors from fiddling at the edges to make his position palatable to conservative funders and to the public they hold in low regard.
Recently, Senator Rubio issued a letter "clarifying" his position on climate change. I've made comments in italics.
"Thank you for contacting me with regard to climate change. I appreciate hearing from you. There is no question that earth's climate is changing, just as it always has.
This canard is now popular with climate change deniers: the climate is always changing. In truth, the carbon dioxide emissions have changed more dramatically, as a result of man-made pollution, than in hundreds of millions of years, precipitating massive climate disruption. What is changing is the weather. Now for Senator Rubio to say the weather is changing would force him to acknowledge the factors that are causing extreme climate events. He won't do that.
However, there is a healthy scientific debate about how much human activity is contributing to that change.
Actually the debate is over. Finished. Done. But if you don't meet with scientists, how would you know? You wouldn't. He doesn't.
As a policymaker, I have a responsibility to consider the costs and benefits of proposed policies and regulations, so that we can protect public safety and preserve the environment for future generations, while not bringing undue economic pain to our economy.
This is another canard that plays directly to major industrial manufacturers, like the Koch Brothers empire, that must absorb profit-eating costs when environmental regulations are put into place to limit climate changing emissions. What Rubio and the deniers refuse to acknowledge is that the real costs of climate change adaptation dwarf the expense to corporations. If Senator Rubio bothered to be curious he would learn why climate change -- in the words of Sir Nicolas Stern, former chief economist of the World Bank -- is the biggest market failure in the history of mankind. That's tough to accept for the prideful party of business: the GOP.
In the case of regulations that seek to limit climate change, unilateral action by the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is a costly gesture that slows economic growth, destroys jobs, increases energy prices, and does nothing to impact climate change since the largest polluters are now developing nations like India and China.
So here is the three-legged stool: 1) Climate is always changing. 2) The costs of climate change adaptation outweigh the benefits. 3) We make our own nation uncompetitive because China and India -have no binding requirements to halt pollution. These are the three legs of Rubio climate change denial stool. While it is true that the rapidly expanding economies of India and China have massively increased world wide carbon dioxide emissions, it is also true that we are sacrificing the leadership -- not just in moral terms -- but in real financial ways to technological innovation with respect to energy production and distribution and alternative energy technologies. While the United States sits with its wilted bouquet of exceptionalism and the shaky middle class, other nations are far ahead of us in basic metrics of technological adaptation.
That does not mean we should ignore climate change. I strongly support efforts in Florida and elsewhere to mitigate against the effects of severe weather and flooding. We should also encourage new technologies and innovations to promote energy efficiency and energy diversity.
If you can't make the facts fit the argument: lie. Senator Rubio has opposed every effort by the Obama administration to develop comprehensive climate change adaptation responses, if not actively then through his silence.
As a policy maker my responsibility is to support sound ideas that attain real results. That is why I am hoping Congress will pass legislation to promote energy innovation and production. Specifically, on January 29, 2014, I joined Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) to introduce the America INNOVATES Act (S. 1937), which would consolidate management at the Department of Energy's national laboratories, help facilitate research and development of energy technologies, and give more flexibility to our national laboratories in agreements with the private sector to drive innovation.
Please know, I will continue to work with my colleagues on a bipartisan level to craft policies encouraging economic growth while protecting the environment. It is an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Florida. Thank you again for contacting me."
It is important to note that Rubio's final signal that economic growth is the precondition to protecting the environment is exactly the same as Jeb Bush brought to Florida in 1998, as a first-term governor. There is no difference between Rubio and Bush on climate change; by keeping our economy strong and environmental regulations in check through corporations' self interest, we can protect the environment.
Wrong: Rubio acts like his record of climate change denial can be erased, written off, altered, changed, modified, reinvented, recast, and out will magically pop credibility as though making a pigeon appear from his sleeve. That's the message encapsulating the extremist agenda of the GOP. And these inventions of the extremist imagination have failed -- failed as badly as Dick Cheney and George W. Bush's plan for Iraq -- or else we would not be where we are today.