When considering potential 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush, a casual observer might make a simple comparison: He’s probably just like his brother.
But so far, this hasn’t proved to be true on multiple fronts — and recently it’s become clear that it’s also not true when it comes to climate change. While Jeb, the former Republican governor of Florida, has been on a streak of statements questioning scientists’ knowledge of human-caused climate change, President George W. Bush was relatively progressive on the issue, basing his position on advice from respected institutes like the National Academy of Sciences and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
First, though, the similarities: Both George and Jeb have said the climate is changing and that something should be done about it. In Jeb’s case, this has made him look semi-moderate on the issue, if only because many of his potential Republican opponents don’t think climate change exists at all.
But saying climate change exists is a relatively benign statement that ignores humanity’s role and, thus, the responsibility to reduce carbon emissions. While Jeb Bush has called the science surrounding humanity’s role in warming “convoluted,” his brother George actually acknowledged warming was due to greenhouse gas increases caused “in large part [by] human activity.”
“Greenhouse gases trap heat, and thus warm the earth because they prevent a significant proportion of infrared radiation from escaping into space,” President Bush said in a 2001 address. “Concentration of greenhouse gases, especially CO2, have increased substantially since the beginning of the industrial revolution. And the National Academy of Sciences indicate that the increase is due in large part to human activity.”
President Bush did go on to say that the National Academy of Sciences was not sure exactly “how much effect natural fluctuations in climate may have had on warming.” But he also called the Academy “highly-respected,” and urged it to “provide us the most up-to-date information about what is known and about what is not known on the science of climate change.”