Marco Rubio seemed surprised he was asked about climate change science at a Republican presidential debate held in Miami, where some 2.4 million people are at risk from rising seas. CNN moderator Jake Tapper asked Rubio to respond to the words of Miami Republican Mayor Tomás Regalado, who acknowledges the human-made threat to his city, and wants to hear his state’s senator acknowledge it, too: “Will you, as president, acknowledge the reality of the scientific consensus about climate change and, as president, will you pledge to do something about it?”

Rubio responded: “Well, sure, the climate is changing and one of the reasons why the climate is changing is the climate has always been changing,” he said, interrupted by applause. “There’s never been a time when the climate has not changed. I think the fundamental question for a policymaker is, is the climate changing because of something we are doing and if so, is there a law you can pass to fix it?”

Rubio blamed Miami flooding on its low-lying land and listed a convoluted second reason that it’s also “higher sea levels or whatever may be happening.” He continued his fact-free musings by dismissing the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to cut our greenhouse gas emissions. “But as far as a law that we can pass in Washington to change the weather, there’s no such thing.” The audience laughed.