Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush is calling out President Obama's climate change plan as "irresponsible," while at the same time admitting global warming is man-made and real.
"Obama's carbon rule is irresponsible and ineffective," Bush told Bloomberg BNA, in an interview with the news group published Thursday. Bush was asked to give his opinion of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, which set emission limits for existing power plants and are at the center of Obama's climate change agenda.
The EPA plan directs states to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, which many scientists say are causing man-made climate change. The goal of the plan is to reduce the country's overall emissions 30 percent by 2030.
The Clean Power Plan has been a major political target for the GOP, which argues it will raise electric rates and cause the nation's energy system to become unstable. The rules are set to be made final as soon as Monday, Aug. 3.
Bush says the Clean Power Plan, "as proposed … will unnecessarily increase energy costs on hard-working families and will cause job losses in many states." At the same time it "does virtually nothing to address the risk of climate change."
Bush also says the plan "oversteps state authority," while taking EPA "far beyond its statutory authority, regulating how people consume energy." Finally, the plan "threatens the reliability of the electricity grid," Bush said.
At the same time, when asked if he believes climate change is occurring, Bush explained, "[t]he climate is changing; I don't think anybody can argue it's not." He explained that human activity "has contributed to it."
But at the same time,"we have a responsibility to adapt to what the possibilities are without destroying our economy, without hollowing out our industrial core," he said.
"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 stated. "We should not say the end is near, not deindustrialize the country, not create barriers for higher growth, not just totally obliterate family budgets, which some on the Left advocate by saying we should raise the price of energy so high that renewables then become viable."
While Bush scolds EPA for overstepping its authority to address climate change, he does applaud its efforts on renewable fuels.
When asked about EPA's flagship renewable fuel program, the Renewable Fuel Standard, Bush said the program "has worked," saying one has only to "look at the increase in production." The program direct refiners to blend biofuels in the nation's gasoline supply by higher and higher levels each year. EPA has struggled in recent years to implement the program, in part because of fears that raising the level of corn ethanol in gasoline could result in engine damage to consumer vehicles. A number of groups, senators and congressman are calling for legislation that would repeal or reform the program.
Bush said he would support the program up until its 2022 target date, when he would begin phasing out the program if elected president. Under the law, EPA is directed to blend 36 billion gallons of biofuels annually in the nation's fuel supply.
"I do think that phasing out, getting to a place where we don't pick winners and losers and we don't create mandates, over time, is the proper thing to do," Bush said. He added that "2022 is the law, and is probably the good break point."
Overall, he said the program "has been a benefit to us as we've reduced our dependency on foreign sources of oil."