08.13.2012 0

Gov. Romney’s Statements on Global Warming Allow for Greater Scientific Skepticism

Mitt RomneyBy Kevin Mooney — Gov. Mitt Romney has been talking a good game on energy policy.

He will approve the Keystone XL Pipeline on his first day in office, and opposes the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) through the Clean Air Act. Those are all good signs from a free-market point of view.

But where the concept of man-made global warming is concerned, the Republican presidential nominee is not exactly a skeptic. In fact, as Investors Business Daily noted in an editorial, Romney once sought out advice from no less than President Obama’s science czar John Holdren, an anti-population zealot.

“Why Gov. Romney, a reasonable person, would pick such a man to advise him on anything is beyond us,” IBD lamented.

Although Romney has been sharply critical of anti-energy schemes advanced in the name of global warming, he has been reticent to challenge research that has been used to rationalize the policy proposals. This approach is problematic because it allows discredited global warming alarmists to frame the debate, Marc Morano, the editor of Climate Depot, has repeatedly warned.

Since it is always possible to cajole the political class and frighten the public into action that may not be in their best interests, Morano has long argued that free market groups should challenge environmentalists not only on economics, but also on the science.

“Obviously the economic side is very critical to the debate, but to uproot the environmental agenda you have to take on the science,” Morano has said.

In his 2010 book, “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness,” Romney wrote “I believe that climate change is occurring — the reduction in the size of global ice caps is hard to ignore. I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor. I am uncertain how much of the warming, however, is attributable to factors out of our control.”

In subsequent interviews and statements, Romney has hued close to this position.

At a campaign stop in Pittsburgh, Pa., for example, the Republican candidate said the following when asked about global warming.

“My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet,” he said. “And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us. My view with regards to energy policy is pretty straightforward. I want us to become energy secure and independent of the oil cartels. And that means let’s aggressively develop our oil, our gas, our coal, our nuclear power.”

Since he has been careful to stop short of embracing alarmist rhetoric, there is ample opportunity for Romney to gravitate more in the direction of well-credentialed scientific skeptics who have been vindicated in recent months.

Morano, reports on his web site that over 1,000 scientists from across the globe are on record challenging the theory of man-made global warming. Moreover, there is the unfolding “climategate” scandal implicating researchers at the University of East Anglia in Great Britain.

This means the debate has shifted dramatically from where it was just a few months ago.

Within the skeptical scientific community, there are a range of views including some that closely correlate Romney’s recent statements. There are skeptics, for instance, who accept the idea that humanity has had some influence on the environment, but that influence stops well short of inducing catastrophic climate change, they have argued.

That should be where Romney goes. He is in position to gravitate toward a skeptical stance that questions the premise of man-made global warming theories. It would be both politically shrewd and scientifically sound.

Kevin Mooney is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government.

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