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Just sad, really. But this is what happens when you hitch your career to the interests of billionaire fossil fuel magnates:

Former vice president Al Gore says he sees the true motivation behind these remarks: currying favor with Republican megadonors like Charles and David Koch.

*  *  *
"I don't think it's particularly complicated why they have all cowed into abandoning that position," Gore said. "They will face primary opponents financed by the Koch Brothers, and others who are part of their group, if they even breathe the slightest breath of sympathy for the truth about climate science. It's not really that complicated."

No, it's not, and Marco Rubio is a case in point.

Rubio is one of five Senators who vote as commanded 100% of the time by his masters, Charles and David Koch (The Americans For Prosperity "Scorecard" is here).  To achieve this level of slavish obeisance, Rubio pretty much has to reject established climate science at every turn.  He demonstrated his loyalty with a craven act of bootlicking on national TV this past Sunday:

"I don't agree with the notion that some are putting out there, including scientists, that somehow there are actions we can take today that would actually have an impact on what's happening in our climate," [Marco Rubio] said on ABC's "This Week." "Our climate is always changing. And what they have chosen to do is take a handful of decades of research and say that this is now evidence of a longer-term trend that's directly and almost solely attributable to manmade activity, I do not agree with that."
This despite the fact that Florida is ground zero for the effects of climate change.  Sea levels surrounding Southeastern Florida are expected to rise at least two feet by 2060, according to a report by the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact. As the New York Times reports, Miami is particularly threatened:
In and around Miami, local officials are grappling head on with the problem. "Sea level rise is our reality in Miami Beach,” said the city’s mayor, Philip Levine. “We are past the point of debating the existence of climate change and are now focusing on adapting to current and future threats.”
Rubio himself has flip-flopped on the issue. As a state Representative in 2008, not yet financially beholden to the Kochs, he supported legislation directing the state's DEP to develop rules for reduction of corporate carbon emissions. Since selling out to the Kochs, he has taken a more "skeptical" tone, and now seems to have planted himself firmly in the Denialist position.

Rubio's fealty to the Kochs is likely to come back and haunt him in the eyes of his constituents who won't have the luxury of denial available to them when the Hurricane season begins this year.  His position is absurd and counterintuitive to his own interests, but such is his dependency on Koch money that he has no choice. As Gore puts it:

[A]nyone who wants to set his or her aspirations on the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2016 already knows that they can't possibly cross the Koch brothers and the others that are part of that group, the large carbon polluters and ideological anti-statists who are really terrified that the government will do anything new...[.]

Every Republican in Florida seems to be afraid of the Kochs  The New York Times attempted to interview Jeb Bush, Rick Scott, and Marco Rubio in connection with the article about Florida, linked above. All refused.  Such is their terror of appearing equivocal on the subject to their Koch-funded donor base, which in turn churns out denialist propaganda to their voting base. Even while Floridians face potential catastrophe, these politicians are too beholden to the Kochs even to acknowledge the problem:

Political analysts say the reluctance of the three men to speak publicly on the issue reflects an increasingly difficult political reality for Republicans grappling with the issue of climate change, particularly for the party’s lawmakers from Florida. In acknowledging the problem, politicians must endorse a solution, but the only major policy solutions to climate change — taxing or regulating the oil, gas and coal industries — are anathema to the base of the Republican Party. Thus, many Republicans, especially in Florida, appear to be dealing with the issue by keeping silent.
As the Times article notes, if you want to get ahead in today's Republican Party, you don't talk about climate change.  Or else.

Originally posted to Dartagnan on Tue May 13, 2014 at 08:10 AM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS.

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