Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush acknowledged on Friday that he’s “concerned” about climate change, but argued that the U.S. has largely addressed carbon emissions through private sector innovation that has led to a natural gas boom.
Speaking at the New England Council’s “Politics and Eggs” series in Manchester, New Hampshire, a popular stop for presidential hopefuls, Bush fielded a question about whether his energy policy would take the environment into account.
Bush argued that the U.S. has reduced carbon emissions through conservation and an increased reliance on cheap natural gas.
“We can continue to reduce carbon emissions by taking advantage of the abundance of natural gas,” he said.
The former Florida governor said the U.S. must work with other nations to ensure they do the same.
“We need to restore our competitive posture, which I think our energy revolution will allow us to do, and then simultaneously … be cognizant of the fact that we have this climate change issue and we need to work with the rest of the world to negotiate a way to reduce carbon emissions,” he said.
Bush has in the past expressed skepticism that climate change is man-made.
In a 2011 interview, Bush said that while global warming “may be real,” that “it is not unanimous among scientists that it is disproportionately man-made.”
On Friday, Bush did not say directly that he believed climate change was man-made, but he consistently tied it industry-produced carbon emissions.
“Right now we are one of the counties that has reduced carbon emissions because of the natural gas revolution, converting from coal, and conservation — the two things that have driven a reduction in CO2 emissions,” Bush said.
“We are reducing [carbon emissions],” he added. “The rest of the world is the place, certainly in the emerging world, where you have greatest challenges.”