POLITICS
07/30/2015 03:36 pm ET Updated Jul 31, 2015

Jeb Bush Now Says Humans Contribute To Climate Change

But he still doesn't want the government to push renewable energy.
Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, who has made varying statements on climate change this year, said Thursday that he believes humans are partly responsible for it.  

"The climate is changing; I don’t think anybody can argue it’s not. Human activity has contributed to it," Bush said in an email interview with Bloomberg BNA.

The former Florida governor had said in June that he believes in climate change --although he didn't say if he thought humans were contributing to the problem, which is the scientific consensus. But in May, he said it is "arrogant" to claim that the science on the issue is settled, an argument he has been using since 2011.

Before Pope Francis released his encyclical on climate change last month, Bush said he thinks religion should be "less about things that end up getting into the political realm."

In Thursday's interview, the candidate said America should take some steps to deal with climate change. 

"I think it’s appropriate to recognize this and invest in the proper research to find solutions over the long haul but not be alarmists about it," Bush said.

But he reiterated his support for limiting federal involvement in the energy sector, including the government's current encouragement of renewable energy sources.

"Power generation should reflect, as much as possible, the diverse attributes and needs of states and their citizens," Bush said. "The federal government should not be dictating what types of power should be used where. It should not be picking winners and losers." 

Last week, Bush said he would get rid of all energy subsidies if he were president. 

On Thursday, he also criticized President Barack Obama's veto of the Keystone XL pipeline and the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, calling the latter "irresponsible and ineffective."

The 2016 Republican presidential candidates have offered a wide range of views on climate change. Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and former New York Gov. George Pataki, who are both polling near the bottom of the field, have said they believe humans contribute to the problem. Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) has said he believes "the climate is changing because there's never been a moment where the climate is not changing." Then there's Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), who claims there's no scientific evidence to support climate change.

CONVERSATIONS