WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Tuesday that he's not so sure he would have attended this week's international climate talks in Paris. The policies being discussed, he said, could hurt the U.S. economy at a time Americans are struggling to recover from the recession.
"I worry about the economic impact for our country," Bush said during a visit to Iowa, the first-in-the-nation caucus state. President Barack Obama is pushing to put a price, such as a tax, on pollution to fight global climate change.
"I worry that — put aside intentions — these proposals could have an impact on the here-and-now on people that are really struggling right now," Bush added. "I'd be uncertain whether I would attend a meeting like that where it seems like the movement is toward policies that would hurt our economy."
His comments come as Obama and the leaders of more than 100 other nations are negotiating a deal that would get all countries to agree to cut emissions that scientists say are warming the Earth and increasing extreme weather.
Republicans are united in opposition to any international climate change pact and the president's plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants. Bush and other GOP candidates all say that Obama's plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants could cost thousands of jobs and raise electricity costs for businesses and families.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump are among several Republican candidates who reject mainstream climate science. Ben Carson calls himself a "climate science questioner" and says "the temperature of the earth is always fluctuating."
Bush said at a New Hampshire town hall last month that he thinks the climate is changing and that "humans have some say in it for sure." But, he added, "What I don't want to do is destroy the American economy as the solution."
This story corrects the attribution of the quote in the 2nd paragraph to Jeb Bush, rather than Donald Trump.