Nonetheless, when they spout remarks like the ones that potential GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio made on ABC's "This Week" Sunday, the response of the interviewer and everybody else in the studio ought henceforth to be howls of ridicule:
"I don't agree with the notion that some are putting out there, including scientists, that somehow there are actions we can take today that would actually have an impact on what's happening in our climate. Our climate is always changing. And what they have chosen to do is take a handful of decades of research and say that this is now evidence of a longer-term trend that's directly and almost solely attributable to manmade activity, I do not agree with that."Some clutching of ribs and rolling on the floor may well be in order, too. Followed by a dose of shunning. Up to now, when deniers have parroted the outrageous claims of a handful of outlying scientists and bought-and-paid-for marionettes for the fossil fuel industry, the immediate media response, beyond a barely raised eyebrow or two, has been respectful. As if these denier views are of equal value to the views of thousands of peer-reviewed scientists with relevant climate study credentials. Less than zero respect is deserved.
Please read below the fold for more about Rubio's unintentional comedy act.
ABC's Jonathan Karl did press on a bit, trying to pin the Florida senator down:
"But let me get this straight, you do not think that human activity, its production of CO2, has caused warming to our planet?" Karl asked.This from a guy representing a state that will suffer a great deal from climate change. Miami, the state's second largest city, is doomed. How's that for destroying the economy?
"I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it. That's what I do not—and I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it. Except it will destroy our economy," Rubio responded.
For years, Rubio has been a weasel when it comes to climate change. As Adam Weinstein pointed out two years ago, as speaker of the Florida House in 2007, Rubio said to his colleagues there: "Global warming, dependence on foreign sources of fuel, and capitalism have come together to create opportunities for us that were unimaginable just a few short years ago. [...] Florida has the opportunity to pursue bold energy policies, not just because they are good for our environment, but because people can actually make money at doing it. This nation, and ultimately the world, is headed towards emission caps and energy diversification."
Look closely and you'll see that the speech was itself a version of denierism—one of the more sophisticatedly manipulative ones conceding global warming is happening but pretending it will be good for us. But he at least admitted global warming was actually happening. And he not only supported, but also led the effort in the House to limit greenhouse gas emissions and offshore drilling in the Sunshine State.
Once in the 2010 Senate race, however, and he switched gears. In an attack on Charlie Crist, who said he accepts the verdict of scientists that human-caused climate change is happening, Rubio responded to the Tampa Tribune: "I don't think there's the scientific evidence to justify it."
In public at least, Rubio isn't a hoaxer like his Republican colleague from Oklahoma, Sen. Jim Inhofe, who argues that global warming is a complete fabrication. Rubio's a smidgen slicker than that. But whatever his private views on climate change, he's made clear that he's willing to say what it takes to collect the votes and campaign cash that come with voicing scientifically illiterate nonsense in public. Fits perfectly with his unwillingness to say how old he thinks the earth is.
This nonsense isn't funny. Still, every time Rubio opens his yap with more calculated ignorance on global warming, the proper response isn't, "Thank you, senator," but two straight minutes of guffaws.