Marco Rubio, a Roman Catholic, said Saturday he has "no problem" with Pope Francis' encyclical urging action on climate change -- but added he won't support policies that could help the environment but "hurt our economy."
"I have no problem with what the pope did," Rubio told reporters in Miami before speaking to the Miami-Dade County Republican Party. "He is a moral authority and as a moral authority is reminding us of our obligation to be good caretakers to the planet. I'm a political leader. And my job as a policymaker is to act in the common good. And I do believe it's in the common good to protect our environment, but I also believe it's in the common good to protect our economy."
Though scientists are in broad agreement that climate change is man-made, Rubio continued to question that premise. He said his focus is on tackling the consequences rather than what caused it.
"I don' think there is a scientific consensus on what percent, how sensitive, climate is to human activity," he said. "But the broader question as a policy maker is not whether I believe humans have contributed 10 percent, 50 percent or 99 percent. The fundamental question I have as a policymaker must be what can we do about it and what impact will it have on the rest of our country and the rest of our lives. And what I am not going to support are measures that will hurt our economy and put people out of work and increase the cost of living."
He began answering the question by poking at Democrats who have trumpeted the pope's position on the environment but not social issues.
"I find it ironic that a lot of the same liberals who are touting the encyclical on climate change ignore multiple pronouncements of this pope on the definition of marriage and on the sanctity of life," Rubio said.