Across the country we are seeing the impacts of climate-fueled extreme weather right outside our windows. Yet, there are many in Congress who hold extreme anti-science positions—denying that climate change is happening and that human activity is the driving force behind it. These politicians are turning a blind eye to what NASA and 97 percent of climate scientists agree on.
In fact, last week the National Climate Assessment was released, detailing how each region is and will continue to be affected by climate change, including through worse air quality and extreme weather events like record-breaking heat waves, longer droughts, more intense wildfires, stronger storms, increased flooding and rising sea levels. These kinds of climate disruption are also putting our health, economy and agriculture at risk.
Yet, in the wake of this report, there are some in Congress who are using this as another opportunity to deny climate change and spread misinformation. For example, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) declared on ABC’s “This Week,” “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying.” Click here to watch the full video.
This comment shows you just how out of touch Rubio is with the needs of his constituents in Florida, as the National Climate Assessment noted that the state is vulnerable to rising sea levels, extreme heat, more devastating hurricanes and water scarcity. Miami and Tampa were identified as two of the cities most at risk to sea level rise, which could increase by up to two feet in Southeast Florida by 2060, according to the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact.
However, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) gets it, he stated on the Senate floor recently, “What’s going to happen to the actual structures and people, who are not only subject to being flooded because of the rise of sea level, but having their whole dwellings and city torn up, like hurricane Andrew did to downtown Homestead…that’s what we’re facing unless we do something, about climate change. And the first thing we’ve got to do is we’ve got to stop this denial, that it’s not real.”
"Floridians are worried about the coastal communities that they love,” Senator Whitehouse said on the Senate floor. “They are getting serious about protecting their homes and their livelihoods. And they want their representatives in Congress to get serious too." Click here to watch the full Senate floor speech.
Senator Rubio isn’t the only prominent politician who responded to the National Climate Assessment with climate change denial. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) put out a press release attempting to discredit the report as “global warming alarmism,” even as his state was trying to contain a 3,000 acre wildfire. This sort of response comes as no surprise from a noted climate change denier like Senator Inhofe, who once famously declared, “[T]he idea that manmade gases, CO2, are causing catastrophic global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”
It’s time for our elected officials to stop denying the science and start addressing the causes of climate disruption. Click here to join LCV in supporting the Environmental Protection Agency safeguards that will limit carbon pollution from the nation’s top climate change polluter—power plants. This is a core part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and is essential to protecting our planet for future generations.