“There is climate change. The issue is whether there is legislative proposals before us that can do anything about it.”1
This is what Sen. Marco Rubio asserted after a media firestorm befell him in reaction to comments he made during an ABC News interview denying that human-caused climate change is real. He later claimed that while climate is “always changing,” he just does not believe that elected officials like him can or should do anything about it.2
As a scientist living in Florida, I see local and global climate change data and projections that are truly alarming. A new report on climate change impacts by the National Climate Assessment has named Miami as one of the cities most vulnerable to rising sea levels.3 It also happens to be nearly 70% Latino.4 I am not just worried about my family in Florida. I am also worried about those who live in other vulnerable states—like New York, California, North Carolina, and Texas.
It is unacceptable that Senator Rubio, a prominent Latino leader, refuses to act on climate change—especially since Latinos overwhelmingly support immediate action. In fact, a recent national poll confirms that other than immigration reform, there is no other issue that Latinos support more.5
So we’re taking a stand along with our partners at Forecast the Facts. With your help, we’ll make sure that everyone knows that politicians like Senator Rubio who refuse to act on climate change are working against Latino communities and values.
While Senator Rubio has made efforts to support some version of the DREAM Act and to temper his anti-immigrant rhetoric, we have not forgotten his praise of Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB 1070 law and his original opposition to the DREAM Act.6 We know his old Tea Partino ideals don’t represent the views of the majority of Latinos.
His stance on climate change is just the latest example of his anti-Latino values.
We’re already feeling the effects of climate change—heavy rainfall, wildfires, extreme temperatures—all concentrated in parts of the country where there are significant Latino populations.
Thanks and ¡Adelante!
Nicole Hernandez Hammer, MBA, MS
Nicole Hernández Hammer, Presente member, is a sea level researcher living and working in Florida who focuses on climate change and Latino outreach issues.
1. What people are saying about what Marco Rubio said about climate change. Tampa Bay Times, May 13, 2014.
2. Rubio clarifies climate change comments. The Hill, May 13, 2014.
3. Miami Finds Itself Ankle-Deep in Climate Change Debate. The New York Times, May 7, 2014.
4. Important Issues to U.S. Hispanics: Add sea level rise to the list. Latina Lista, September 10, 2013.
5. Poll finds that Latinos overwhelmingly support climate action. Grist, January 24, 2014.
6. How Marco Rubio Evolved on Immigration Reform. National Journal, January 29, 2013.