Jeb: Humans contribute to climate change

GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush says human activity is contributing to climate change and the country has an obligation to work to stop it.

“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 said in an interview published Thursday with Bloomberg BNA.

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“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 added.

The remarks differ from comments Bush made as recently as June on the issue, when he recognized that the climate is changing but questioned whether human activity plays a role — something the vast majority of scientists in the field believe.

“The climate is changing, whether men are doing it or not,” he said in June, adding that he is “a little skeptical” of taking advice on climate policy from Pope Francis, who released an encyclical on climate change days later, according to the Huffington Post.

But in May, Bush said that human activity is a part of climate change.

"Clearly there is some influence, we are living on a planet and we kind of dominate the planet, manmade climate change is part of this," he said at a New Hampshire event, according to his campaign.

"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 continued, referring to criticism of climate skeptics.

In his BNA interview, Bush also sharply criticized the main piece of President Obama’s drive to fight climate change, calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate rule for power plants “irresponsible and ineffective” and listing off a wide array of reasons to oppose it.

“First, it does virtually nothing to address the risk of climate change. Second, it oversteps state authority. Third, EPA has gone far beyond its statutory authority, regulating how people consume energy. Fourth, it threatens the reliability of the electricity grid. Finally, as proposed, it will unnecessarily increase energy costs on hard-working families and will cause job losses in many states.”

Bush also said the EPA under Obama “seems intent on pushing its authority beyond legal limits,” and he intends to change that if he becomes president.

This story was updated at 1:44 p.m.