U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has taken a clear stand against claims of man-made climate change and calls for cap and trade and other measures to curb carbon emissions, long targeted as a major cause of global warming. The likely contender for his party's presidential nomination in 2016 is now cool toward his previous approach to the subject when he was speaker of the Florida House of Representatives in 2009, just one year before his election to the U.S. Senate and the status he has since enjoyed as a rising star of the Grand Old Party.
"I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it," Rubio said in an interview that aired Sunday on ABC's This Week. Responding to questions about the National Climate Assessment issued from the White House last week with dire warnings about present and near-future consequences of global warming, Rubio added: "I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it. Except it will destroy our economy."
Such unequivocal statements do not leave the senator much "wiggle room" if he should choose to alter that position during a presidential campaign or in a Rubio administration, should he win the top prize. But while there has been no net increase in the Earth's temperature for nearly 18 years, Rubio's former interest in climate-change legislation appeared to cool in little more than a year when he was in the state legislature. Huffington Post reported:
As the leader of the Florida House in 2008, Rubio helped pass a law directing the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop a carbon emissions capping system. He has since distanced himself from that vote, arguing that he never supported cap and trade, only the idea that the state should look into such a system. And when the system ultimately did not pass, he cheered its failure.
The "HuffPost" piece provides a link to a December 10, 2009 article in the Tampa Bay Times with the headline: "Rubio now assails cap-and-trade plan, though he backed earlier legislation." Rubio highlighted the issue in his senate campaign against Charlie Crist, a fellow Republican and the Florida governor at the time.
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