Rubio said first that he finds it “ironic that a lot of the same liberals who are touting the encyclical on climate change ignore multiple pronouncements of this pope on the definition of marriage and the sanctity of life.”
Rubio’s lead-in is Nixonian: shifting from an indefensible position on climate change by blaming “liberals”, to pit them as enemies of the moral authority of the church.
Then, Rubio added: “I have no problem with what the pope did.”
How can Rubio say he has "no problem" with the pope, when the record shows that Rubio hasn't acknowledged climate change in the past? The denial of global warming for which he has been most consistent: refusing to meet with climate scientists.
He immediately follows, “He (the Pope) is a moral authority and as a moral authority is reminding us of our obligation to be good caretakers of the planet. I’m a political leader and my job as a policymaker is to act in the common good.”
Rubio is not just claiming a distinction between moral and political authority, he says that the moral authority of the pope is a passive engagement compared to political authority; an active one.
Moreover, if a politician’s role is to “act" in the common good, as opposed to moral authority, which is -- what? passive -- , how is it not in the common good to be “a good caretaker of the planet”?
As though some distant part of his brain had alerted him to the danger of spreading false dichotomies among likely voters, Rubio slightly reworked his theme on the run, "And I do believe it’s in the common good to protect our environment. But I also believe it’s in the common good to protect our economy.”
This is Marco Rubio veering back to the Jeb Bush meme on global warming and the papal encyclical: that the pope should stay with religion and not meddle in economics, the realm of politics.
Finally, Rubio remembers the bullet points on the Fox News cheat sheet, "There are people all over this planet and in this country who have emerged from poverty in large respect because of the availability of affordable energy. It creates industries. It makes the cost of living lower. And we have to take that into account as well.”
If Marco Rubio, a good Christian, had paid any attention at all to the environment during his political career — from the perspective of West Miami built haphazardly from former Everglades wetlands — he would understand that harm to the environment weighs most heavily on those least capable of bearing the costs: the poor, the needy, and the powerless. But Rubio, as state legislator in Florida and Jeb Bush loyalist, did not pay attention: while in the state legislature he did not just do the bidding of powerful economic interests that comprise Florida’s shadow government; he lead from its front.
The Republican notion on climate change -- compelling civilization to walk forward while looking down at our shoelaces ignores the facts that Pope Francis offered in his encyclical: unless we deal with the causes of global warming now -- right now! -- we face a global economic catastrophe that will first affect the poor but leave no one standing.
“We have to take that into account as well”, ie. the argument that short-term economic priorities trump long-term security is the famous refuge of climate change dodgers. The reason: implicit in “take that into account as well” is delay and driving debate back into the high weeds of uncertainty.
Almost on cue, the Obama administration yesterday released the first analysis of imminent costs to the US economy from global warming. "In the absence of global action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the United States by the end of the century may face up to $180 billion in economic losses because of drought and water shortages, according to a report released Monday by the White House and Environmental Protection Agency. White House officials said the report, which analyzes the economic costs of a changing climate across 20 sectors of the American economy, is the most comprehensive effort to date to quantify the impacts of global warming.” (NY Times)
In his response to the papal encyclical, his own words show how Marco Rubio is unqualified to be president. To much of the world, it is a surprise that climate change deniers like Rubio are U.S. senators at all.