“I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that,” Mitt Romney told a crowd supporters at a town hall meeting in Manchester, New Hampshire.
“It’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may be significant contributors.”
Immediately the “See! He’s a RINO emails” began to flow in, but Romney is just saying what every serious GOP contender will have to say, and what the best voice conservatives have on the subject, AEI’s Steven Hayward says. (Here’s a recent Weekly Standard piece from Hayward that updates the surveys the climate change debate as it presently stands, including the rout of the alarmists, but I hope he produces a mock Q-and-A for all the GOP contenders to study and posts it at Powerline.)
The responsible, conservative answer is to review the controversy over the climate change scandals, the majority opinion –that the planet is warming some but we don’t know how much, that humans contribute to the warming, but we don’t know by how much, and that we don’t know if it will be harmful or if there’s anything we can do about it– and a cautious preference for reducing greenhouse gases but not via a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system that cannot work even if it was necessary because the world’s biggest emitters aren’t buying it nor should they.
Jon Huntsman, Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney are all first tier candidates who will take some variation on this position, and I suspect even some of the movement candidates like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich will as well, though Michele Bachmann’s position may force them towards the passionate anti-warming camp, but this would be a mistake. The GOP cannot be captured by the folks who say the planet can’t be warming anymore than it can throw in with those who say it is headed towards catastrophe. On this subject, as with so many others, the vast majority of voters want common sense and a declaration that whatever the case, climate change won’t be an issue that is allowed to kill jobs or energy production even as the scientific community continues to try and repair its collective reputation and come to a better understanding of the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions.
One more interesting point: The Politico team following Romney yesterday didn’t pick up on the Romney’s global warming answer even though versions of it spread quickly through the rightroots. Just as with Sarah Palin’s alleged dig at Romney the day before excited the MSM for a few hours and turned out to be no story at all, the first few days of the campaign have shown that there are so many traffic-addicts eager to spread a damaging story that it will be necessary to check every alleged major gaffe and controversy thoroughly before believing it.