The climate is changing but the contribution of humans toward it is not yet clear, Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida and likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate, said on Wednesday. Bush’s comments, made during a house party in Bedford, New Hampshire, came just hours after President Barack Obama urged action toward mitigating the “immediate risk” posed by climate change.
“Look, first of all, the climate is changing. I don’t think the science is clear what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural. It’s convoluted. And for the people to say the science is decided on, this is just really arrogant, to be honest with you,” Bush reportedly said, adding that this “intellectual arrogance” was preventing people from having a conversation on anthropogenic climate change.
Bush’s stance on climate change is unlikely to find support among scientists. According to NASA, which cites 18 different scientific institutions, nearly all climate scientists agree that the global warming trends over the last century are “very likely” caused by human activities. Since record-keeping began in 1880, average global temperatures have risen 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, nine out of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000, with 2014 being Earth’s warmest year on record.
“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?” Holly Shulman, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee said, in a statement.
Bush, who is widely expected to announce his intention to seek the Republican Party's nomination to run for president in 2016, also said that while the U.S. government should not ignore climate change, tackling it should not be the “highest priority.”
“The President's approach is, effectively, reduce economic activity to lower our carbon footprint,” Bush reportedly said, responding to earlier remarks by Obama. “That's not what he says, of course, but that's the result of his policies.”
In recent months, the Obama administration has sought to act on climate change by setting targets for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In November last year, during a trip to China, Obama announced that the U.S. will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent of 2005 levels over the next 10 years.
“Climate change will impact every country on the planet. No nation is immune,” Obama said, during a commencement speech at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, earlier on Wednesday. “Climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security … and, make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country.”