Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) dismissed the idea that the U.S. government could do anything to combat climate change Wednesday, the day after he gave the Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union.
"The government can’t change the weather. I said that in the speech. We can pass a bunch of laws that will destroy our economy, but it isn’t going to change the weather," Rubio said on Fox and Friends, as part of a series of interviews on the morning shows following his response Tuesday. "Because, for example, there are other countries that are polluting in the atmosphere much greater than we are at this point -- China, India, all these countries that are still growing. They’re not going to stop doing what they’re doing."
"America is a country, it’s not a planet," he continued. "So we can pass a bunch of laws or executive orders that will do nothing to change the climate or the weather but will devastate our economy. Devastate it!"
China and India, in fact, have cap-and-trade systems to control emissions, while the U.S. does not. A proposed system for the U.S. passed the then-Democratic-controlled House in 2010, while it died in the Senate. China is, of course, the world's leading emitter of carbon dioxide, but it also has a population over four times the United States.
Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine breaks down the reasoning behind climate change for Rubio:
1. The government has a bunch of rules that control how much coal, oil, and whatnot gets burned.
2. The more greenhouse gasses we burn, the warmer the climate gets. It’s science.
3. The warmer the climate gets, the more frequently we have extreme weather events. This is also science.
Rubio's climate change skepticism is not newfound. He said earlier this month that he has heard "reasonable debate" about whether climate change is man-made. In fact, a study, published in 2010 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, surveyed 1,372 climate researchers and found that 97 to 98 percent of them agree that climate change is anthropogenic.