Unlike most Republicans running for president, Jeb “Let’s Add An Exclamation Point” Bush acknowledges that climate change exists. But that doesn’t mean he thinks the federal government should do anything about it.
“The climate is changing and there’s no doubt man had an impact on it,” Bush said at a campaign event in New Hampshire. The former governor of Florida — the state most vulnerable to sea-level rise — then told the crowd that even though there is “no doubt” about climate change, the proper way to address it is through the free market.
“My belief is that we should spend money at the government level on basic research to find the next generation of energy sources that have a lower carbon footprint,” he said to scattered applause. “What we shouldn’t do is try to make winners and losers out of the federal government. That was tried. It was called Solyndra,” Bush said, referring to the solar manufacturer that received a $536 million U.S. Energy Department loan guarantee and then went bankrupt. Solyndra became a favorite talking point of the GOP, which accused the Obama administration of malfeasance in guaranteeing the loan. However, after dozens of congressional letters, five congressional committee hearings, nine congressional committee staff briefings, a review of hundreds of thousands of documents, and testimony from five administration officials, the GOP was unable to find any wrongdoing. Bush neglected to mention this in New Hampshire.
But he did keep talking. Bush then lauded the development of fracking. Yes, fracking: the natural gas extraction process responsible for turning Tornado Alley into the earthquake capital of the United States. Bush said that the reason we’ve seen a decline in carbon emissions over the past decade isn’t because of government regulation, it’s because of the free market — which lowered the cost of natural gas, rendering it cheaper than oil.
Rather, Bush thinks the answer is to wait around and see what happens. “There’s someone in a garage somewhere,” he said, “… that’s gonna have a clue, that’s gonna have an answer to this.”
Environmental groups disagree. “When your plan is to wait around and hope that someone in their garage fixes the climate crisis,” said the Sierra Club’s Adam Beitman, “it’s clear you’re not taking the issue seriously at all — especially while seas are rising around your home state. Some of these Republican candidates are paying lip service to climate action, but opposing every serious solution that’s out there.”
Garage tinkerers of the world, take note: If Jeb gets elected, we’re going to need you to get to work.