Thursday, March 15, 2012

Romney Increasingly Uncertain about the Science of Global Warming

Republican front runner Mitt Romney seems to being getting more obtuse about climate change as his campaign goes forward. Speaking at a closed-door fundraiser in Pittsburgh, Romney told donors at the Consol Energy Center, "My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us."

This is far from the position that he put forward in his 2010 book, No Apology, Romney wrote, "I believe that climate change is occurring...I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor."

As recently as June 2011, Reuters reported that Romney said that the US should "reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may be significant contributors."

At a stop in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney said, “I don’t speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world’s getting warmer. I can’t prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that.”

In August he again said, "I think the earth is getting warmer. ... I think humans contribute to that."

Even if he secretly believes in global warming it does not appear that he is willing to do anything about it. At the fundraiser, Romney was asked whether he would reject a cap-and-trade bill to limit carbon emissions linked to climate change. Romney replied, "I do not believe in a cap and trade program." He has also said, The U.S. “Cap and trade effectively constitutes an enormous, hidden tax on the American people and American businesses.”

Romney resists the green economy by alleging that it costs jobs. Contrary to Romney's assertion that clean energy "loses jobs for Americans," Republican governors are forced to acknowledge that green energy is a net creator of jobs.

"My view with regards to energy policy is pretty straightforward." Romney said, "And that means let's aggressively develop our oil, our gas, our coal, our nuclear power."

Romney's support for fossil fuels and skepticism about climate change plays well with conservatives, but it is a hard sell for thinking independents who are capable of rational thought. These independents may very well determine the outcome of the 2012 Presidential election. However, to win the Republican nomination, Romney has to play dumb on climate change.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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