Mitt Romney: No apologies on climate change stance
Until now, Romney has had a relatively easy time in dealing with the politics of climate change, in no small part because conservatives have been busy pummeling his record in Massachusetts on health care.
And when global warming did come up, the right was preoccupied with former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who has repeatedly apologized over his past support for carbon caps and now calls it a “clunker” in his record, and Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker who three years ago cut a TV commercial with Nancy Pelosi where they pledge to work together on the climate issue.
Romney’s critics got their opening last Friday when he responded to a climate question during a town hall meeting in Manchester, N.H.
“I don’t speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that,” Romney said. “I can’t prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer.
“No. 2, I believe that humans contribute to that,” he continued. “I don’t know how much our contribution is to that, because I know there’s been periods of greater heat and warmth than in the past, but I believe we contribute to that. And so I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and global warming that you’re seeing.”
By acknowledging global warming is occurring, Romney falls roughly into the same camp as Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor who recently told Time magazine he’s concerned about the issue but would no longer support his state’s participation in a regional cap-and-trade program because of the rough economy.
In Massachusetts, Romney also took the opening steps toward joining a cap-and-trade compact for power plants now known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. As John McCain’s campaign pointed out during their bitter 2008 GOP nomination battle, Romney had even called cap and trade “good for business.”
But to the chagrin of greens, Romney pulled out of RGGI in late 2005 just before it got off the ground, citing a lack of economic safeguards. Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick brought the state back to RGGI in 2007.
Conservatives trying to digest Romney’s evolving views on climate change are not very pleased with what they’ve heard over the years.
“All that does is tell me he’s the wrong guy for the presidency, anyone who’d change his philosophy in accordance with where the votes are,” Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), one of the leading climate skeptics in Congress, told POLITICO.
“Remind me again: Why is this guy considered the front-runner for the Republican nomination?” blogger Doug Brady wrote Friday on the site Conservatives4Palin after Romney’s remarks in New Hampshire. “I may be going out on a limb here, but shouldnt the Republican candidate oppose Democrat positions? Or am I living in the past and hopelessly naïve?
Yep, I know where Romney stands and I know where Perry stands. Let’s see what everyone else is willing to say to the MSN with a national audience.