Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) acknowledged Sunday that the planet is heating up, but he stopped short of saying that global warming is caused by man.
Appearing on the CNN program “State of the Union,” Rubio’s comments came just after a new report from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that time is running out to take action on climate change. He appeared on the show to talk about how Florida is dealing with the devastation left by Hurricane Michael last week, one of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the United States. Scientists have said that global warming would produce more and stronger hurricanes.
Host Jake Tapper asked Rubio if he believed that climate change was caused at least in part by man.
“Look, scientists are saying that humanity and its behavior is contributing toward that,” Rubio said. “I can’t tell you what percentage of that is human activity. And I think many scientists would debate the percentage of what is attributable to man versus normal fluctuations.”
Rubio said things like the rise in sea level and the increasing temperatures in bodies of water are measurable. “I don’t think there is an honest debate about that,” he said, adding, “What can we do about it?”
Tapper responded by asking Rubio what he would tell his children 20 years from now what he had done to help mitigate climate change.
Even if dramatic steps, like using solar panels for electricity, were taken, Rubio said, “this trend would still continue.”
“We’re going to have to do something about the impact that it’s having on low-level coastal areas, and that means mitigation – hardening, lifting, how we manage water,” Rubio said. “We’re all over that.”
He added: “But I’m also not going to destroy our economy. There’s a reality here. There’s a balance on that end of it that we need to be focused on.”
Rubio’s remarks drew criticism on social media. Among the commenters was Michael E. Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University. He tweeted, “The one thing that is insured to destroy our economy is unmitigated climate change.”