Miami Heat

Two weeks ago, I mentioned that Republican billionaire Andy Sabin was on a mission to get Jeb Bush to be proactive on human-caused climate change. Obviously, Bush’s recent remarks denouncing the alleged “intellectual arrogance” of those concerned about the climate crisis, it would seem that Sabin’s efforts are doomed. You would figure that a guy like Sabin would focus his efforts on supporting the infinitesimal number of Republicans who are willing to openly disagree with Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe—Republicans such as Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL).

Florida Republicans haven’t exactly been making headlines for their progressive stance on climate change. But a lone Republican has begun to push for action within his party. Representative Carlos Curbelo, who represents Florida’s 26th Congressional District, which stretches from Miami to Key West, says he understands climate change is “a major challenge and threat we all face, especially in South Florida.”

“I have objectively taken a look at the information out there, and it’s evident the climate is changing,” Curbelo told [Miami] New Times. “Certainly human beings are having an effect on the climate.”

His positions are a far cry from those of other Florida Republicans, including former Governor Jeb Bush and Senator Marco Rubio, who have both expressed doubt as to whether human activity is causing climate change. Governor Rick Scott reportedly forbids his staff from even mentioning the words climate change.

Curbelo, a Hialeah native, says he doesn’t view climate change as an ideological question, of conservative versus liberal, but rather a “real issue that demands real solutions.”

“I actually believe that more people agree with me in my party than they’d like to admit,” Curbelo says. “Unfortunately it’s become part of the political game.”

There’s no doubt that Curbelo’s courage has put him in the crosshairs of the fossil-fuel mob, which infamously whacked such pro-climate-action Republicans as Reps. Wayne Gilchrest, Bob Inglis and Mike Castle years ago. Will Sabin and pro-climate-action billionaires such as Michael Bloomberg offer Rep. Curbelo protection in 2016?

UPDATE: More from Scientific American.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.