Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush said in an interview published Thursday that humans contribute to climate change. Bush, in a departure from recent comments, said that the United States should adapt and make changes to stop climate change, while keeping the country's finances in mind.
"I think we have a responsibility to adapt to what the possibilities are without destroying our economy, without hollowing out our industrial core," he said in an interview with Bloomberg BNA. "I think it’s appropriate to recognize this and invest in the proper research to find solutions over the long haul but not be alarmists about it."
Bush did say, however, that the nation should consider industry and families when creating plans to affect climate change. “We should not say the end is near, not deindustrialize the country, not create barriers for higher growth, not just totally obliterate family budgets, which some on the left advocate by saying we should raise the price of energy so high that renewables then become viable,” he said, according to Bloomberg BNA.
In the past, Bush had questioned whether people are affecting climate change. During a June town hall event in New Hampshire, he said, "The climate is changing, whether men are doing it or not," according to the Huffington Post. Bush, a converted Catholic, went on to question Pope Francis' call to stop climate change days before the spiritual leader was set to release a leaked document on the issue. "I hope I’m not going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home, but I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope,” Bush said, according to MSNBC.
He also said during a May house party in New Hampshire, "I don't think the science is clear on what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural. It's convoluted," according to CNN. The overwhelming majority of scientists in the field agree that humans affect climate change.
But Bush had also previously said that humans may play a role in climate change. "Clearly there is some influence; we are living on a planet and we kind of dominate the planet. Man-made climate change is part of this," he said at a May event, according to his campaign, the Hill reported. Bush made it clear that he felt climate change skeptics see unfair criticism. "But there is also natural changes and so why do we have to have a debate where people that may have some doubts about this are considered Neanderthals," he said.
Bush also commented on President Barack Obama's push against climate change in his Bloomberg BNA interview, saying the Environmental Protection Agency "seems intent on pushing its authority beyond its legal limits." He was especially critical of the agency's proposed rule, backed by Obama, to make power plants cleaner, calling it “irresponsible and ineffective.”