At last night's GOP debate at the University of Miami, moderator Jake Tapper posed a question Marco Rubio that came from none other than Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, a Republican who has endorsed Rubio. The topic was climate change. It was a pretty simple question:
"Climate change means rising ocean levels, which in South Florida means flooding downtown and in our neighborhoods. It's an everyday reality in our city. Will you, as president, acknowledge the reality of the scientific consensus about climate change and, as president, will you pledge to do something about it?"
Rubio's answer made no damn sense. Instead of telling us what he would do, he told us what he wouldn't do. His answer also included implications that climate change is caused by human pollution and is not.
Rubio began the answer with his old line that climate is changing "because there's never been a time when the climate was not changing," and then got into specifics about Miami.
"On the issue of flooding in Miami, it's caused by two things: Number one, South Florida is largely built on land that was once a swamp."
OK, yes. True.
"And number two, because if there
Well, it's not a question of "whatever." We know that sea levels have
"And I have long supported mitigation efforts," he continued. "But as far as a law that we can pass in Washington to change the weather, there's no such thing."
OK, so no real talk about mitigation efforts that Rubio would plan to support as president. Bummer.
Rubio then gives extreme estimates of how much money curbing carbon emissions in America would cost the average consumer without mentioning things like solar power or other clean (and increasingly cheap) energy alternatives. Obviously, he doesn't mention how much those "mitigations" he supports
Then Rubio's answer got really weird.
"One, because America is not a planet — it's a country," Rubio said of the effects of passing laws in America. "And number two, because these other countries, like India and China, are more than making up in carbon emissions for whatever we could possibly cut. "
America is also the number two producer of carbon emissions, behind only China and ahead of India.
But is Rubio suggesting that cutting carbon emissions in India and China would have an effect on climate change? His logic in this answer would seem to suggest so.
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Why would someone who doesn't believe that carbon emissions are causing sea-level rise even bother to mention carbon emissions in India and China?
And if we ever expect India and China to curb emissions, shouldn't America lead by example?
In any event, Regalado asked Rubio a simple question about what he would do. What we got was a list of things he wouldn't do, supported by murky rhetoric about why he couldn't do them, all of which held less water than Miami Beach roads at high tide.