Romney On Cap And Trade In 2003: ‘I Am Making Good On My Pledge’ To Clean Up Carbon Pollution ‘Harming Our Climate’

A new document has surfaced showing Mitt Romney’s strong support for regulating carbon dioxide in 2003, when he called cap and trade “an effective approach” to combating climate change.

The comments were made in a letter from Romney to New York Gov. George Pataki about a regional cooperative system for regulating greenhouse gases. In the letter, Romney agreed with Pataki on the need to “reduce the power plant pollution that is harming our climate.”

But today, in trying to align himself with conservative political backlash against climate science, Romney says “we don’t know” whether humans are warming the planet, and that doing something about the problem “is not the right course for us.”

Here’s the full letter from Romney to Pataki:

Thank you for your invitation to embark on a cooperative northeast process to reduce the power plant pollution that is harming our climate. I concur that climate change is beginning to effect on our natural resources and that now is the time to take action toward climate protection. Furthermore, I share your interest in ensuring that the economic and security contributions made by our electricity generating system are not negated by the impact of emissions from that system on the health of our citizens.

As you may know, the commonwealth is making major strides to reduce the environmental impact of our power plants. Specifically, I am making good on my pledge to clean up the six oldest and dirtiest power plants in the state and bring them up to new plant standards for NOx, SOx, mercury and CO2. We are the first state to enact a cap on CO2, implementing regulations that, by 2008, will reduce these emissions by 10%, removing 6,750 tons of Co2 per day. Furthermore, Massachusetts, along with the other New England states and Canadian provinces, has a target of reducing greenhouse gases and improving the efficiency of the grid substantially over the next 20 years.

I believe that our joint work to create a flexible market-based regional cap and trade system could serve as an effective approach to meeting these goals. I am ready to have my staff work with yours to explore how we might design such a system — one that would keep the cost of compliance as low as possible, diversify our fuels, encourage energy efficiency and renewables, and keep our energy dollars in the region. Thank you for your initiative in proposing this project.

Mitt Romney is getting a lot of media attention for his contradictory stances on energy policy. Every week, there’s a new document or quote surfacing from the past that counters all of his current campaign mantras.

This adds to the very long list of dramatic changes to Romney’s energy policy. During his last bid for the presidency in 2007, Romney advocated aggressive fuel efficiency standards, electric vehicles, and public-private partnerships to develop clean energy.

In 2006, Romney said that high gas prices were good for discouraging consumption, explaining that he was “very much in favor of people recognizing that these high gasoline prices are probably here to stay.”

In 2004, Romney introduced a climate protection plan for Massachusetts, laying out a “no-regrets policy” to tackling climate change.

And in 2003, the year the letter to Pataki was written, Romney set up a $15 million fund for renewable energy and criticized coal plants for creating jobs that “kill people.”

With this barrage of information surfacing about the candidate, it’s not likely he can simply Etch-A-Sketch his problems away.

14 Responses to Romney On Cap And Trade In 2003: ‘I Am Making Good On My Pledge’ To Clean Up Carbon Pollution ‘Harming Our Climate’

  1. Zak Ames says:

    I refuse to reinforce the status-quo this coming election. I will be supporting the genuine third-party candidate Rocky Anderson in this coming election – He’s definitely worth researching! I encourage everyone who is interested in resurrecting our Constitutional liberties to do the same through registering at

  2. facts lean left says:

    Etch-A-Sketch the flip-Flopper takes foot out of mouth, in order to insert other one.

  3. facts lean left says:

    Every one of the repig candidates was outfitted with a gravedigger’s shovel at the beginning of the campaign, and they have all made real use of them.

  4. squidboy6 says:

    I think flip-flops are made from petroleum these days…

  5. sarah says:

    Don’t miss this NYT bit by By David Javerbaum, even if, like me, you plug your ears when the mitt is mentioned in any medium:
    A Quantum Theory of Mitt Romney

    “Uncertainty. Frustrating as it may be, the rules of quantum campaigning dictate that no human being can ever simultaneously know both what Mitt Romney’s current position is and where that position will be at some future date. This is known as the “principle uncertainty principle.””

  6. prokaryotes says:

    Today his wife announced that the current Mit, isn’t the true Mit Romney. So we have the possibility that he might flip again on the topic of climate change?

    This is sooo funny when discussing Romney politics in a bar. How many misunderstandings… ROFL

  7. prokaryotes says:

    Romney’s wife Ann on his stiff personality: ‘We better unzip him and let the real Mitt Romney out’

    Read more:

  8. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    It’s good to know that Mitt Romney is just as committed to commensurate action on climate, that is, to signing an equitable and efficient global climate treaty, as is the incumbent Obama.

    We can thus be sure that whatever the election’s outcome, the American national climate policy of a ruinous brinkmanship of inaction with China will be maintained, and that the goal of breaking that rival’s bid for global economic dominance will be advanced.

    This prognosis is affirmed by the fact that progressives in America seem unable or unwilling even to countenance the reality of the national climate policy they tolerate, let alone to challenge it. Until the policy faces accurate description and scathing critique, by Americans, of its reckless and genocidal nature, there seems scant prospect of it being overturned.

    The problem with the late Edward Teller’s formal proposal (in ’97) of the use of sulphate aerosols for geo-engineering (as an off-switch for warming once the policy goal is achieved) is that he was grossly ignorant or simply callous of how delays to mitigation that allow a sufficent warming of the oceans will cause a general destablization of methyl clathrates, whose massive climatic and acidification impacts would then be terminal for human populations. Including Americans.

    It seems a bizarre quirk of fundamentalist American nationalism, as embodied in the acknowledged policy of ‘Mutually Assured Destruction’ applied to the previous rival for supremacy, that ‘winning’ should be considered so much more relevant than ensuring mutual survival.



  9. Mike Roddy says:

    Unfortunately, people have not caught on to the fact that Mitt Romney is a replicant, designed by creatures from another galaxy. Their goal is to hurtle the planet toward destruction, paving the way for them. This is why Romney has no actual positions or emotions. These are too hard to program.

  10. Mike Roddy says:

    It’s a win-win for the fundamentalists. They get to drive their SUV’s as long as they want, and their children will be whisked up to join them in Heaven that much sooner.

  11. Maurice Webb says:

    I don’t care if you believe in climate sicence or not Mr. Romney, you and your friends have been crapping on this country and the world for too long. We need to stop making a wasteland by not being good stewards of this country and world and clean up the mess that has been made in the name of profit. There can be a sustainable future for everyone, it just won’t have as much profit in it.

  12. Laurie Dougherty says:

    Romney flip flopped on climate while he was still Governor of Massachusetts. First Massachusetts was in RGGI then Romney pulled the state out. One of the first things current MA Governor Deval Patrick did was to put MA back in RGGI.

  13. Sasparilla says:

    Boy looking at this flip flopper Romney makes me thank goodness we have a trustworthy candidate that doesn’t flip flop on climate change like Barack Obama…someone we can count on to make the tough decisions, except he didn’t do that after getting to be President.

    I remember back in 2008 when Obama said: “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal”. Then he said during his campaign that he’d make climate change action 1 of the 3 primary things he’d do in office. Then he got elected and threw climate change action over the side.

    Of course after 3 months into office he approved the 1st tar sands pipeline from Canada – Keystone 1 (when gasoline was below $2 a gallon) then a month later approved the 2nd one, Alberta Clipper, then he went on take so many other anti-climate change actions. Obama likes green energy but doesn’t give a whit about climate change action (since he never chose climate change action over increased fossil fuel production during his term).

    Both candidates are flip floppers on climate change action.

    The big difference between the two (IMHO) is that Obama will be more green energy friendly than Romney. With the House firmly in GOP hands (and we had veto proof Dem majorities in 2009 and 2010) there is no chance that climate change legislation is moving forward no matter who gets elected.

    If the numbers are close for my state I’ll hold my nose and vote for Obama since his administration has been green energy friendly (and the GOP candidates are talking about green energy like its a plague) but thinking that voting for Obama is a vote for climate change action is naive.

  14. AJ Escobar says:

    I, for one, think we shouldn’t be pointing out how Romney’s positions have changed with the political winds, since this will cause some of the undecided voters to trust that his “real” views are more middle of the road, and therefore make him more electable to them. We have to keep the focus on the partisan vitriol we’ve seen during the primaries and constantly remind voters of his attacks on women’s rights, the environment, and minorities of all stripes.