Mitt Romney Backs Away From Climate Change

August 25, 2011 4:58 a.m.

Staring down a new rival who believes climate change science is partially some kind of international grant money shakedown conspiracy, Mitt Romney is stepping back from a view of climate change he outlined earlier this summer.

“Do I think the world’s getting hotter? Yeah, I don’t know that but I think that it is,” Romney told a crowd in New Hampshire Wednesday, according to Reuters. “I don’t know if it’s mostly caused by humans.”

Romney then tilted over and grabbed some of Rick Perry’s Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)-endorsed ideas on the environment. That is, let’s not spend a dime doing anything about it.“What I’m not willing to do is spend trillions of dollars on something I don’t know the answer to,” Romney said.


Romney also said on Wednesday that he would make weaning the United States from imported energy from the Middle East a priority over reducing carbon emissions.

Still, using additional domestic nuclear, natural gas, and other resources could have a side benefit of cutting carbon emissions, Romney said. “My view is pursue a strategy which gets us into energy independence which has as a byproduct it gets us into less CO2 emitting.”

He criticized a bill backed by President Barack Obama that would have capped carbon emissions and allowed polluters to buy and sell rights to emit carbon.

“I do not believe in cap and trade and I do not believe in putting a carbon cap” on polluting industries, Romney said.

This is a big change from the Romney of early June, who raised eyebrows when he went against Republican dogma and talked the talk of climate change.

“It’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may be significant contributors,” Romney said at another New Hampshire stop in early June.

“I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that,” Romney said at the event.

Perry’s poll numbers are surging, and there are signs that he’s taken Romney’s mantle as the early frontrunner in the 2012 nomination contest. Romney’s new opposition to doing anything actively to prevent climate change may be a sign that he’s trying to skew farther right to grab some of that Perrymentum.

Get the day’s best political analysis, news and reporting from the TPM team delivered to your inbox every day with DayBreaker. Sign up here, it takes just a few seconds.

The TPM Journalism Fund: A New Way To Support TPM
We're launching the TPM Journalism Fund as an additional way for readers and members to support TPM. Every dollar contributed goes toward:
  • -Hiring More Journalists
  • -Providing free memberships to those who cannot afford them
  • -Supporting independent, non-corporate journalism
Are you experiencing financial hardship?
Apply for a free community-supported membership
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: