Today, the media decided that Mitt Romney has flipped on climate change. Unfortunately, everyone failed to notice that he started this process two months ago.
“Mitt Romney Embraces Climate Denial,” reads a Huffington Post headline from Friday afternoon. The article is based on a ThinkProgress video of the candidate speaking at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA.
“My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet,” Romney tells the crowd. “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.”
The media is buzzing because it appears that this is the first major shift from comments Romney made early in his campaign, telling a town hall audience in NH: “I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that.”
Here’s the rub: it’s not.
Romney has been waffling on the issue of climate change for over two months now. In this CNN video posted on August 25th, Romney admits that he’s no scientist while stumbling over the question for over a minute. He eventually concludes he “doesn’t know if [climate change] is mostly caused by humans.”
Romney then promises to follow a “no regrets policy;” developing domestic sources of energy that don’t emit CO2.
So, it was more of a gradual refinement than a flop. Or, if you like, it was a very slow flop. Still, it doesn’t really matter when Romney decided to conform to the GOP party line on climate change. What does matter is that he has gone from being one of only two candidates in the GOP field to affirm that climate change is real and caused by human action to being just another climate skeptic.