U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is experiencing a storm of criticism over comments he made on Sunday about climate change.
In an appearance in ABC’s “This Week,” the Florida Senator blasted the recently released Third National Climate Assessment, a study by the Obama administration, which warned that many places are already suffering from the consequences of climate change.
Rubio said he disagrees with scientists who believe humanity affects the “always evolving” climate.
“I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it,” he said. “And I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it except it will destroy our economy.”
The Assessment, compiled by over 300 environmental experts, reported that climate change has the potential to make Florida (including Rubio’s home city of Miami) one of the most endangered areas of the country.
In reporting the senator’s appearance, a number of commentators — including Republican Joe Scarborough — have criticized Rubio over his position.
Demcocrats.org, in an email to supporters, said Rubio was “choosing to ignore 97% of scientists who disagree with him, just to cater to the Tea Party base.”
“I don’t associate myself with Marco’s point, but there are variations of that,” said Scarborough on his MSNBC Morning Joe talker. “You can believe there is climate change, as I do. And you can believe that human activity has played a significant role, as I do.”
According to the New York Times:
“With his comments, Mr. Rubio became the first of three prominent Florida Republicans, including another potential presidential candidate, former Gov. Jeb Bush, to comment publicly on climate change following the release of the report, which named Miami as one of the cities most vulnerable to severe damage as a result of rising sea levels.”
Also lining up to pan Rubio’s comments were CNN and Slate, which said that he “wasn’t buying” the human role in climate change, 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 Huffington Post noted Rubio’s involvement in 2008 to pass a law requiring the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to develop system to cap carbon emissions, a move that “he has since distanced himself from that vote, arguing that he never supported cap and trade, only the idea that the state should look into such a system.” Other legislators who worked with Rubio on the bill have called him an “opportunist and a flip-flopper on the topic.”