Here is what scientists say is going to happen to Miami, Florida over the next century:

Miami and its surroundings are facing a calamity worthy of the Old Testament. It is an astonishing story. Despite its vast wealth, the city might soon be consumed by the waves, for even if all emissions of carbon dioxide were halted tomorrow – a very unlikely event given their consistent rise over the decades – there is probably enough of the gas in the atmosphere to continue to warm our planet, heat and expand our seas, and melt polar ice. In short, there seems there is nothing that can stop the waters washing over Miami completely.

And here is what Republican Senator Marco Rubio thinks about this information:

Most of Florida’s senior politicians – in particular, Senator Marco Rubio, former governor Jeb Bush and current governor Rick Scott, all Republican climate-change deniers – have refused to act or respond to warnings of people like Wanless or Harlem or to give media interviews to explain their stance, though Rubio, a Republican party star and a possible 2016 presidential contender, has made his views clear in speeches. “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it. I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy,” he said recently. Miami is in denial in every sense, it would seem. Or as Wanless puts it: “People are simply sticking their heads in the sand. It is mind-boggling.”

Not surprisingly, Rubio’s insistence that his state is no danger from climate change has brought him into conflict with local people. Philip Stoddard, the mayor of South Miami, has a particularly succinct view of the man and his stance. “Rubio is an idiot,” says Stoddard. “He says he is not a scientist so he doesn’t have a view about climate change and sea-level rise and so won’t do anything about it. Yet Florida’s other senator, Democrat Bill Nelson, is holding field hearings where scientists can tell people what the data means. Unfortunately, not enough people follow his example. And all the time, the waters are rising.”

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating. Imagine asking Marco Rubio to figure out how to land a exploratory rover on Mars. He would need to build the rocket and rover and determine how to launch it into space so that it would travel into Mars’ orbit, and then he would need to figure out to get the rover to enter Mars’ atmosphere and land at a designated location without being damaged. After that, he’d need to make sure that he could communicate with the rover in order to give it instructions and to receive data. How do you think Marco Rubio would go about achieving these tasks?

Would he not have to assemble a large group of scientists and ask them to do the computations and then rely on their work? Would Marco Rubio have any success if he tried to do this work on his own without the assistance of scientists? What would happen if he decided that he simply didn’t believe their conclusions or that even if their conclusions were correct, there is no way that they’d ever succeed in safely landing a rover on Mars and then maintain communications with it?

This is the attitude that Rubio and much of the Republican Party is taking on climate change. We know that they are not scientists, which is precisely why we don’t give a shit about their opinions about climate change. When we have a problem that requires the expertise of scientists to fix, we ask the scientists to fix it. If the scientists need the politicians to change some laws as part of that fix, then we expect the politicians to listen to them and to act. If the people need to change some of their behaviors as part of that fix, then we expect our leaders to explain the necessity for change and to work to mitigate the negative effects.

The city of Miami is going to drown. This is a problem that is exactly like the problem of landing a rover on Mars. It’s a complicated and expensive problem. There is only one way to save Miami and while it may be politically difficult to execute the fix, anyone who makes it more politically difficult should be voted out of office at the first opportunity.

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