Jeb Bush has had just about enough of these people who think that science actually proves anything, and he’s not going to let Barack Obama get away with arrogantly telling people that climate change is real, or that we know why it’s happening. So Wednesday, after the President devoted much of his commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy to discussing the national security implications of climate change, Bush just couldn’t hold his tongue anymore, and not just because he had slobber all over his fingers again. Climate change may be real, Bush said, but let’s not get carried away and treat it like a significant priority or anything.
At a fund-raiser in Bedford, New Hampshire, Bush acknowledged — in that “the climate is always changing” way Republicans like so much — that the climate is changing, but added, “I don’t think the science is clear of what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural. It’s convoluted[.]” Heck, if it’s complicated, then maybe we should just do nothing. That’s worked so well with other complex problems, after all. Besides, Bush said, people are just far too quick to assume that climate scientists actually know what they’re talking about:
“For the people to say the science is decided on this is really arrogant, to be honest with you,” he continued. “It’s this intellectual arrogance that now you can’t have a conversation about it, even. The climate is changing. We need to adapt to that reality.”
And by “adapt,” Bush explained, he means “drill, baby, drill.” The President, he said, just wants to “reduce economic activity to lower our carbon footprint. That’s not what he says, of course, but that’s the result of his policies.” Instead, Bush said, we don’t need to reduce the gases that those arrogant scientists say cause global warming, but instead, we should provide more incentives for fracking and drilling for natural gas, which is, admittedly, lower in carbon than oil and coal, but not exactly carbon-free. As for the significance of climate change, Bush was decisively indecisive:
I don’t think it’s the highest priority. I don’t think we should ignore it, either … Just generally I think as conservatives we should embrace innovation, embrace technology, embrace science. … Sometimes I sense that we pull back from the embrace of these things. We shouldn’t.
So, sure, let’s embrace just enough science that we can pretend that we might need to do something, but not so much that we actually do anything. Still, it’s the closest that any of the 2016 Republican candidates have come to even obliquely criticizing the climate-denying loons in Congress, so we’ll give Jeb a half-point of extra credit.
The Democratic National Committee issued a terse statement in response to Bush’s warning against getting all carried away with science:
Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that human activity has led to climate change. Ninety-seven percent. But Jeb Bush thinks they’re wrong. Who’s being intellectually arrogant now?
Oh, Jeb, Ya BURNT! Happily, that one was carbon-neutral.