One of the Grand Old Party's brightest young stars claims he's still not convinced climate change is a real problem.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R), spoke at the inaugural BuzzFeed Brews event in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday night. The conversation eventually turned to environmental reforms.
Speaking with BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith, Rubio said that climate change was not a proven fact, and that even if it was, it would not be cost-effective for the U.S. to take action.
Rubio's skepticism contrasts with a study, published in 2010 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that surveyed 1,372 climate researchers and found that "97–98 [percent] of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of [anthropogenic climate change] outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change." Furthermore, several of the world's most prominent national science academies have acknowledged that the world's climate is changing as a result of man-made causes.
Regardless, Rubio mainained that "The U.S. is a country, not a planet. On the other hand if we unilaterally impose these things on the economy it will have a devastating impact. There has to be a cost-benefit analysis to everyone of these principles people are pushing on. The benefit is difficult to justify when it’s only us doing it, no one else is doing it."
Rubio added that while the "climate is always changing," he said he is not convinced that it is changing because of man-made activity.
"I know people said there’s a significant scientific consensus on that issue, but I’ve actually seen reasonable debate on that principle," Rubio said.
The junior Senator was a popular name in the GOP party this year, and was rumored to have been considered for Mitt Romney's running mate in the 2012 presidential election, according to Mother Jones. His record on environmental issues is complicated, the magazine reports: While still in the state legislature, he helped pass a greenhouse emissions bill; but once he took his current seat in the U.S. Congress, he supported a pro-oil campaign.
In February of 2010, Rubio told Florida's Tampa Tribune that there wasn't "scientific evidence to justify" environmental reforms.
ThinkProgress reports that one study in Rubio's home state shows climate change may cause more economic damage than it would cost to try and cut down on climate change causes.
A recent analysis by the World Economic Forum found that the world must spend an additional $700 billion annually to reduce the use of fossil fuels and curb the effects of climate change. According to a study from the Climate Vulnerable Forum, climate change is already costing the world over $1.2 trillion, or 1.6 percent of global GDP, and contributing to almost 400,000 deaths annually.