Top Donor Is Confident Romney Secretly Supports ‘Climate-Change Controls’

Julian H. Robertson, Jr.

Mitt Romney’s top donor is Environmental Defense Fund board member Julian H. Robertson Jr., who has given $1.3 million to the Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future even though Romney has viciously attacked the climate cap-and-trade policies EDF supports. A spokesperson for the hedge-fund billionaire said that Robertson is confident Romney is lying to the public when he campaigns against climate action as the “Soros agenda,” and will “do the right thing” if elected:

In terms of the environment and climate-change controls, which [Julian Robertson] does believe is one of the most important issues the country and the world faces, he has confidence that Romney, once he’s in there, will do the right thing.

Robertson has been a long-time supporter of Romney, saying he’s “the smartest guy I’ve ever seen” in 2007. Robertson vigorously supported Obama’s cap-and-trade bill in 2009, because of the “danger of global warming.”

If Romney intends to support climate-change controls as president, he certainly hasn’t given any such indication on the campaign trail:

“Unlike Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney never sat next to Nancy Pelosi in an ad funded by George Soros on behalf of Al Gore’s global warming initiative. As recently as 2008, the Soros agenda had no better friend than Newt Gingrich.” [2/2/12]

“In my administration, coal will not be a four-letter word.” [3/5/12]

“I can tell you the right course for America with regard to energy policy is to focus on job creation and not global warming.” [11/2/11]

“In place of real energy, Obama has focused on an imaginary world where government-subsidized windmills and solar panels could power the economy. This vision has failed.” [3/5/12]

“President Obama has achieved his goal of making energy more expensive in this country. We must abandon his course of restricting supply, increasing regulation, and hoping for miraculous new technologies to save the day. Instead, we should take advantage of the enormous reserves of oil, coal, and natural gas; the potential of nuclear; and the innovation of our private sector; which will power this nation for the century to come.” [3/1/12]

“I like wind and solar sources of energy; I think they’re great, but they are not going to drive our cars.” [3/1/12]

“There have been two big issues in the last five or six years that Republicans have faced. One has been cap and trade. And the president pushed it, the Democrats pushed it, and Newt Gingrich stood up — well, sat down — with Nancy Pelosi and pushed legislation, cap-and-trade legislation. Did an ad about global warming. That is not conservatism.” [12/20/11]

I do not believe in a cap-and-trade program.” [10/28/11]

“Almost everything [Obama]’s done there had made it harder to businesses to reboot and start hiring people. Obamacare, that didn’t encourage people to hire, cap and trade, that didn’t encourage people to go out and hire.” [1/18/12]

“My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.” [10/28/11]

“I will pursue dramatic regulatory reform to accelerate the exploration and development of oil and gas, to facilitate construction of vital infrastructure and to preserve and expand crucial electricity capacity.” [3/5/12]

“[Obama] doesn’t get credit for the increase; he instead has tried to slow the growth of oil and gas production in this country, and coal production in this country. So far from taking credit, he should be hanging his head and taking a little bit of the blame for what’s going on today.” [3/1/12]

“The EPA wants to be able to get in and grab more power and basically try and move the whole economy away from oil, gas, coal, nuclear and push it into the renewables.” [12/5/11]

“I will modernize our outdated environmental laws to take cost into account, and stop the EPA’s practice of using imaginary benefits to justify onerous burdens.” [3/5/12]

“I would get the EPA out of its effort to manage carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles and trucks. Look, that was not a pollutant within the meaning of the legislation that authorized the EPA.” [12/5/11]

“The United States is blessed with a cornucopia of carbon-based energy resources. Developing them has been a pathway to prosperity for the nation in the past and offers similar promise for the future.” [3/1/12]

I’ll get us that oil from Canada that we deserve. And by the way I’m going to open up our lands for development so we can finally get the energy in this country that we need at a price we can afford.” [2/28/12]

“Instead of President Obama’s doomed strategy of creating jobs that are good for the environment, we need a strategy to create an environment that is good for jobs.” [10/24/11]

“President Obama has been waging war on the entire coal industry,” Romney’s energy policy statement reads. “His initial proposal for cap-and-trade, the complex scheme for allowing industries to trade the right to emit greenhouses gases, would have been a crippling blow to the U.S. economy.” Romney promises to amend the Clean Air Act “and remove carbon dioxide from its purview.”

Other donors betting on a colossal climate flip-flop by Romney, Politico reports, include billionaire Trammel Crow, Republicans for Environmental Protection president Rob Sisson, and former Gov. Thomas Kean (R-NJ). Romney is advised by Greg Mankiw, a conservative Harvard economist who supports a carbon tax.

However, Team Romney is flush with oil and coal interests, including oil-shale billionaire Harold Hamm, coal kingpin Bill Koch, tar sands lobbyist David Wilkins, coal-power lobbyist Jeffrey Holmstead, and coal lobbyist Jim Talent. Coal, oil, and gas companies have contributed at least $1.2 million to Romney’s Super PAC.


At Get Energy Smart Now, A. Siegel wonders who should be angrier: Tea Party voters or EDF members.

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Brad Plumer notes that political scientists have found that “presidents almost always stick closely to the policies and positions they espoused on the campaign trail.”

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Tim Carney opines: “If ‘the right thing’ for Robertson means what I take it to mean, Romney’s playing somebody. And what should Republicans think about another 7-figure donor — gay-marriage crusader Paul Singer.”

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