Political Betrayal

Sunlight illuminates Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., during an event at a restaurant Friday, Oct
Sunlight illuminates Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., during an event at a restaurant Friday, Oct. 9, 2015, in Las Vegas. Rubio is scheduled to attend events in the Las Vegas area through Saturday. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Which presidential hopeful has displayed blatant willingness to sell out his neighbors for perceived personal gain?

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida is the man. He is betraying his home town of Miami by outlining a national energy policy that would accelerate sea level rise. Left unchecked, this climate change-related oceanic phenomenon could eventually put much of the city under water.

Rubio's announced carbon-intensive, climate change-denial policy calls for every ounce of recoverable oil in the nation's land and waters to be extracted. It is a policy meant to win over hard core Republican presidential primary voters, most of whom doubt the validity of human-induced climate change and its threat to civilization. They are ardent fans of Rubio's "drill, baby, drill" strategy.

If ever implemented, Rubio's concentrated focus on fossil fuel extraction would likely hasten the most adverse effects of global warming. In his signature energy policy speech, he made no mention of climate change and only passing reference to renewables. Salvation through a steady transition to clean, renewable energy alternatives such as wind and solar received short shrift. Earlier in his career, that was not the case, but White House ambitions have changed his tune.

In Rubio's current universe, human-generated climate change -- if it truly exists -- is not a pressing concern. The same cannot be said for many of his coastal constituents. Filled with trepidation, they have already begun to barricade their communities against the ominous advance of oceanic tidal surges.

On his official Senate website, Rubio boasts of "fighting for Florida" and in that vein, offers suggestions on how to cope with hurricanes. Once more, he has betrayed the public. His advice consists chiefly of improving forecasts, identifying evacuation routes and boarding up exposed structures in advance of storms. But in the big picture, he has forsaken his constituents. Scientists warn that failure to reduce carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels will lead to increased intensity of hurricanes and the catastrophic damage that frequently ensues.

With low lying Florida figuratively and literally in "the eye of the storm", you would think no politician would be more likely to tackle climate change than one hailing from the Sunshine state. But some in the Florida congressional delegation under the Tea Party's sway defy logic (though not as explicitly as Rubio).

In the senator's case, his dereliction raises another nagging question. If he is prepared to gamble with the future of all who support him in Florida in order to achieve personal short term political advantage, what could we expect from him in the White House?

Finally, the 44-yeaer-old Rubio boasts he is an agent of youthful change with new, forward-looking policies. When it comes to energy, however, he displays no recognition of the altered climate dynamics that require a transition to carbon-free renewables. Instead, he espouses the discredited old nostrums that perpetuate the cosmic dilemma bedeviling humanity.