Appearing on the Glenn Beck radio show yesterday, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) denigrated the science of climate change, saying the human impact on global warming was only “half a percent.” He implied mandatory programs to reduce global warming emissions — like the cap-and-trade programs he has previously called for — would “wreck the economy.” And he said that it’s “understandable” that plans to fix global warming have “faded into the background” because of the “energy crisis”:
But, you know, in my view is this: you can argue that the world, the globe is warming as it always has for natural reasons. But I think the weight of the science indicates that at least some of it — you could argue it’s half a percent or something more substantial — is caused by human behavior. . . But, in the wake of this energy crisis, where people are struggling to pay the bills, that debate on cap and trade has fallen to the background for understandable reasons.
Listen here (and watch the latest global boiling reports):
Gov. Pawlenty has been a “driving force” for a regional cap-and-trade system, so it’s unclear if he’s just pandering to Beck, a notorious global warming denier, or if he’s retreating from principle. This is not the first time an adviser to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has denigrated the prospects for climate change legislation. In July, Steve Forbes told Glenn Beck that cap-and-trade and related proposals are not “going to get very far as people start to examine the details of them.” And in May, Sen. McCain himself agreed with Beck that solutions to climate change can be delayed.
BECK: Help me make sense of something. You and McCain both are for cap and trade. Th-th-th-th-the the one company that was the leading champion of cap and trade was Enron, because these big companies can trade — nothing. They can, can trade the air!
PAWLENTY: I would say a couple of things. First of all, anything that adds cost to energy prices right now is going to be viewed with a great amount of concern. And so, you notice the cap and trade debate has kind of faded into the background and it’s unclear what that would look like when and if it reemerges. I would also state Sen. McCain supports that approach, but how you do it is really important. And just cap and trade is not the same across the board. There’s a lot that rises or falls depending on the details of that, so that’s yet to come.
BECK: But all it is is another tax, that’s all it is.
PAWLENTY: You know, it depends on how you do it. But, you know, in my view is this: you can argue that the world, the globe is warming as it always has for natural reasons. But I think the weight of the science indicates that at least some of it — you know you could argue it’s half a percent or something more substantial, you know — is caused by human behavior. So there are some things that we can reasonably and voluntarily do to reduce the human impact without wrecking the economy or without violating, you know, Republican and conservative principles. And I think there’s some room within those — that description to do something, but what you do and how you do it matters a lot. The details matter a lot. But, in the wake of this energy crisis, where people are, you know, struggling to pay the bills, that debate on cap and trade has fallen to the background for understandable reasons.