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This week Jon Stewart said if presidential candidate Mitt Romney was a color, he’d be “beige.” But that may change — and not likely to the color green.
According to CBS News, the former Massachusetts governor’s recent reputation for changing positions continues with a move farther to the right on the issue of climate change and human impact.
As recently as June, Romney acknowledged a human impact on climate change, and even advocated for reducing emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. But by August, candidate Romney was saying that he didn’t know whether or how much humans were contributing to global warming. And at fundraiser in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Thursday, Romney reportedly put forth a still different view.
“My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet,” he said, according to CBS. “And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.”
The speech was to donors at the Consol Energy Center, home of the Pittsburgh Penguins and named for Consol Energy — one of the country’s largest coal mining companies.
In Europe, recent polling suggests that citizens of the EU actually fear climate change even more than economic turmoil, according to The Guardian.
But in the States, the public is less concerned than it was even just a few years ago, and belief in climate change as a threat at all seems permanently tangled up in politics. The New York Times notes that belief in global warming and human-created climate change has taken a 20 percent dip in five years. From the Times:
“’In Washington, ‘climate change’ has become a lightning rod, it’s a four-letter word,’ said Andrew J. Hoffman, director of the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute for Sustainable Development.
Across the nation, too, belief in man-made global warming, and passion about doing something to arrest climate change, is not what it was five years or so ago, when Al Gore’s movie had buzz and Elizabeth Kolbert’s book about climate change, “Field Notes From a Catastrophe,” was a best seller. The number of Americans who believe the earth is warming dropped to 59 percent last year from 79 percent in 2006, according to polling by the Pew Research Group. When the British polling firm Ipsos Mori asked Americans this past summer to list their three most pressing environmental worries, “global warming/climate change” garnered only 27 percent, behind even ‘overpopulation.’”
This all despite the fact that a still-growing consensus from scientists — even those whose research projects are funded by fossil fuel barons the Koch brothers — states that human impact on climate change, and even global warming itself, is quite real.
Of course, a dip in public belief about the realities of climate change could be related to coverage in the media. The Huffington Post pulled a clip from "The Daily Show" in which the comedy host pointed out the mainstream media’s apparent total failure to report on the debunking of “climategate.” Maybe Romney’s made his smartest flip flop yet.