Environment

Here's Marco Rubio's View on Climate Change

April 13th 2015

By:
Laura Donovan

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has officially begun his national campaign for president, but there's still a huge, unresolved problem in his home state: climate change's direct threat to Florida. Rubio, however, does not believe in man-made climate change.

Last year, the senator told ABC's This Week that it's unclear whether humans are responsible for climate change, as the climate has undergone many changes through the years.

"I don't know of any era in world history where the climate has been stable," Rubio said. "Climate is always evolving, and natural disasters have always existed… I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it."

Rubio went on to suggest that limiting climate change wouldn't make a difference for the planet. Instead, Rubio added, it would only hurt American workers.

"I do not believe that the laws that [climate change activists] propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy," he said.

On Florida's hurricane problem, which threatens the homes and lives of people living on Florida's vast coastline, he said, "We've had hurricanes in Florida forever, and the question is, what do we do about the fact that we have built expensive structures, real estate, and population centers, near those vulnerable areas?"

Moving away might be the only option. In 2012, The New York Times published a map of areas that would be completely flooded in 100-300 years without outside protection. Under this projection, 20 percent of Miami's livable land will be completely submerged and Miami Beach will be 94 percent under water:

Florida in 100 years at probable water levels

NYT

Last year, a National Climate Assessment report declared South Florida  “uniquely vulnerable to Sea Level Rise" due to heavy rain in "low-lying coastal areas such as southeast Florida, where just inches of sea level rise will impair the capacity of storm water drainage systems to empty into the ocean."

Even though sea level rises could ravage Florida beaches over time, it doesn't seem like the state's powerful figures, namely presidential hopeful Rubio, are willing to tackle the problem. A new exposé from the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting (FCIR) reports that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has internally banned use of the terms "climate change" and "global warming."

"We were told that we were not allowed to discuss anything that was not a true fact," former Miami DEP employee Kristina Trotta told FCIR. The department’s press secretary Tiffany Cowie went on to refute to the publication.  

But Trotta wasn't the sole person to go on the record about the rule. Christopher Byrd, a former attorney with the DEP’s Office of General Counsel in Tallahassee, confirmed to the FCIR that officials were told not to use those words.

Trotta told The Washington Post that the regulation was shocking "given what a clear threat climate change is to coral reefs and also to the state of Florida in general." Looking at the big picture, the rule is no surprise in a state where a U.S. senator and governor refuse to acknowledge the potential damage climate change can wreak on Florida's 1,200 mile coastline