Marco Rubio Had Some Really Dumb Things to Say About Climate Change Last Night

The Florida GOP debate was full of hot air.

A sign at a Bernie Sanders rally in Tampa Thursday evening

This story was originally published by Grist and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Marco Rubio seemed surprised he was asked about climate change science at a Republican presidential debate held in Miami, where some 2.4 million people are at risk from rising seas. CNN moderator Jake Tapper asked Rubio to respond to the words of Miami Republican Mayor Tomás Regalado, who acknowledges the human-made threat to his city and wants to hear his state's senator acknowledge it, too: "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 responded: "Well, sure, the climate is changing, and one of the reasons why the climate is changing is the climate has always been changing," he said, interrupted by applause. "There's never been a time when the climate has not changed. I think the fundamental question for a policymaker is, is the climate changing because of something we are doing, and if so, is there a law you can pass to fix it?"

Rubio blamed Miami flooding on the city's low-lying land and listed a convoluted second reason:"higher sea levels or whatever may be happening." He continued his fact-free musings by dismissing the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to cut our greenhouse gas emissions. "But as far as a law that we can pass in Washington to change the weather, there's no such thing." The audience laughed.

Most of the time, reporters and debate moderators will leave it at that and move on to another topic. But Tapper followed up with the key detail Rubio wanted to skip over. "So just to clarify, Senator Rubio," Tapper said, "Mayor Regalado, when he talks about the reality of the scientific consensus about climate change…he's saying the scientific consensus is that man does contribute to climate change." Tapper asked if Rubio would tell the man he's wrong.

In fewer words, Rubio said, yes he would. "If we pass—if you took the gift list of all of these groups that are asking us to pass these laws and did every single one of them, there would be no change in our environment. Sea level would still rise." In a world where we really did enact that wish list, seas would still rise, yes, but the world would be well on its way to a more moderate path of warming.

You can watch Rubio's full answer here:

Marco Rubio refuses to acknowledge man-made climate change

"Sure the climate is changing because the climate has always been changing." - Marco RubioHe couldn't be more wrong.

Posted by on Thursday, March 10, 2016

Ohio Gov. John Kasich answered the same question, saying humans have some impact, but "we don't know how much humans actually contribute."

CNN didn't bother GOP front-runner Donald Trump for his thoughts on global warming, though Trump brought it up on his own earlier when talking ISIS.

"We're not knocking out the oil because they don't want to create environmental pollution up in the air," he said. "I mean, these are things that nobody even believes. They think we're kidding. They didn't want to knock out the oil because of what it's going to do to the carbon footprint."

None of this is even remotely true, but pesky things like facts haven't stopped any of the GOP candidates yet.