NY Times Slams Romney’s ‘Energy Etch A Sketch’ On Climate, Coal And Clean Energy

The New York Times editorial board has a scathing piece today, on Mitt Romney, “Energy Etch A Sketch.” In particular, they point out that after erasing all of his sensible  energy and climate policies as governor of Massachusetts, today, “the policies he espouses would be devastating for the country and the planet.”

Here’s an annotated version of the piece:

As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney endorsed an aggressive program to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, pushed to close old coal-fired power plants and embraced wind and solar power. Then came his bids for the Republican presidential nomination, first in 2008 and now in 2012. On climate change as on other issues, he has transformed himself, bit by reactionary bit.

Today he is a proclaimed skeptic on global warming, a champion of oil and other fossil fuels, a critic of federal efforts to develop cleaner energy sources and a sworn enemy of the Environmental Protection Agency.

He’s so extreme now that he has actually pledged to kill existing fuel economy standards.

Mr. Romney has plainly decided that satisfying his party’s antiregulatory base is essential to his political future. But the policies he espouses would be devastating for the country and the planet. If there are doubts on that point, the most recent findings from the International Energy Agency should dispel them: The agency reports an alarming one-year increase in global greenhouse gas emissions, largely because of increasing coal use around the world.

The agency also said that keeping global temperatures below a dangerous threshold is “still within reach” if nations aggressively reduce fossil-fuel consumption while nurturing low-carbon alternatives. And where is Mr. Romney on that? Nowhere.

For details on the new IEA report, see “IEA Report: Natural Gas Is Not The Answer To Climate Problem, Existing Cleantech Is — And It Could Save $100 Trillion By 2050.”

The man who once worried about climate-driven sea-level rise in poor countries like Bangladesh now says things like “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet,” as if mainstream science were wrong and humans had nothing to do with it.

See “Romney IS a Member of a Cult,” embraces climate science denial.

On coal, the governor who once stood in front of a Massachusetts coal-fired power plant and said, “that plant kills people,” recently whirled through Craig, Colo., talking up coal and accusing President Obama of making it “harder to get coal out of the ground.”

Here’s the video of Romney denouncing coal jobs:

The NY Times continues:

On oil and gas, Mr. Romney is wholly in the drill now, drill everywhere mode championed by House Republicans. If his spokesmen are to be believed, he would open up vulnerable and legally protected public lands to drilling. Despite his proclaimed belief in a competitive free-enterprise system — and his concerns about the deficit — Mr. Romney is determined to maintain the oil’s industry’s preposterous $4 billion-a-year tax breaks.

See Romney Energy Plan Includes Drilling ‘Virtually Every Part’ Of U.S., No Protections For National Parks.

When Mr. Romney talks about energy, he means what he calls “real energy” — he-man energy like coal, oil and natural gas, not what he contemptuously dismisses as Mr. Obama’s “imaginary world where government-subsidized windmills and solar panels could power the economy.” Or as he once said, “You can’t drive a car with a windmill on it.”

As Stephen Colbert said, “That’s right! You can’t drive a car with a windmill on it! Because if you put a windmill on top of your car, then where does the dog go? Stupid.”

Meanwhile, the self-described risk-taker who once touted clean energy as “an economic engine very much like biotech” now regularly denounces Mr. Obama for taking risks. His campaign organized a press trip on May 31 to the shuttered factory of a solar panel maker, Solyndra, which went bankrupt and took $535 million in federal loan guarantees with it. Mr. Romney attacked Mr. Obama for “crony capitalism” and, by implication, indicted the entire federal effort to jump-start nascent technologies.

Never mind that Solyndra is the only big failure so far in a broad $37.6 billion program that began under George W. Bush. Or that there is not a single important energy source in this country — especially oil — that has not received support from government subsidies. Never mind that there is no way this country is going to wean itself from foreign oil or address climate change without alternative fuels.

See “CNN On Solyndra Loan: Bush Started It, There’s No Evidence of Wrongdoing, And Romney’s Attacks Are Made Up.”

Mr. Romney has been especially eager to demonize the E.P.A. and environmental regulations Last fall he declared that “the E.P.A. has gotten completely out of control for a very simple reason. It is a tool in the hands of the president to crush the private enterprise system, to crush our ability to have energy whether it’s oil, gas, coal or nuclear.”

What Mr. Romney has either forgotten or chosen to ignore is that the clean water and clean air laws the E.P.A. is enforcing were passed by bipartisan majorities four decades ago when Republicans were still interested in protecting Americans’ health and the environment.

The idea that a politician, especially Mr. Romney, would change his positions for political gain won’t surprise anyone. But the costs of not getting energy policy right — America’s security, its global competitiveness, public health and the health of the planet — are much too high for such cynical business as usual.

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13 Responses to NY Times Slams Romney’s ‘Energy Etch A Sketch’ On Climate, Coal And Clean Energy

  1. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    He wants the Super PAC money and support. So it is a no brainer for him.

    Gaining the presidency is more important than the survival of the species. If he can’t be top primate then he doesnt care if there are no primates.

  2. Peter M says:

    Mitt will be a continuation of the ‘New Gilded Age’ Presidents we have had since 1980- Reagan was the first. Clinton was a mere short interlude- yet in the end he was not much different then the whole lot of what Reagan was to Obama today.

    In the end it will all add up to a huge collapse- far greater then that of October 1929. A climate gone wild- and the gross social and economic inequities of the last 35 years all coming home to roost.

  3. Doug Bostrom says:

    We get what we deserve. Spend enough time obsessing over the “Final Four,” “Angry Birds” and the outcome of “Lost” and we lose track of non-synthetic information, like who said what, when.

  4. Nick B says:

    Well at least we can be clear: this fool can go straight to jail when we start prosecuting people who actively support and willfully promote destruction of the environment.

    When do we start? We need these laws of Ecocide implemented as soon as possible so we can begin the hard work of rebuilding our economies on the firm foundations of less than zero emissions.

    The right to Life is more important than greed and weird tribalism espoused by fools like Romney.

  5. Doug Bostrom says:

    Romney: “…the E.P.A. has gotten completely out of control for a very simple reason. It is a tool in the hands of the president to crush the private enterprise system…”

    Taken on its face and without understanding the pandering requirement, that’s just plain psychotic. It’s just astounding how “mainstream” GOP figures have been pushed into uttering this sort of rubbish.

    I’m hopeful that in a few years the GOP will be looking back and shaking their heads like a drunk awakening from an embarrassing bender, wondering what the hell came over them.

  6. The tale of this article “Energy Etch A Sketch” tells what we know to be a true story. This is the story that the President, Vice. President, and the entire administration and all of its spokespersons should be “SHOVING” down the throats of the Republicans EVERY DAY! What ever the Republicans CLAIM they will do, show what they HAVE DONE! When they claim to have a plan, DEMAND to see it! Program by program show how the Republicans have stymied the system. Oh all this from a 71 year old Eisenhower Republican, Who thinks that Hamilton, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and even Ronnie Reagan are rolling in their graves at today’s Republican Party!

  7. Michelle M says:

    Grand Old Prostitutes.

  8. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    There’s nothing wrong with being an Eisenhower Republican. He was recruited to run for president by both parties, but chose the R-side because of family roots. By today’s standards, he’d be so far left the Democrats would try to hide him within their ranks. Ike trusted experts – not ideologies. He despised the Texas oilmen, the McCarthyites, and even distrusted Nixon – who was foisted on him by the party elders. And as General Ike, he and his experts established the time window for D-Day based on weather reports from Thule Greenland.

  9. Doug Bostrom says:

    Believe me, I’m not a Republican but I sympathize. Whatever happened to the Dan Evans constituency?

  10. Ozonator says:

    Forest boy Romney and the GOP will declare war on both Syria and Iran before the election at the behest of their Super PACs to negate savings in renewables and Obamacare. Billionaire Sheldon Adelson can only help his Chinese casino customers through the T-party subsidizing coal sales to the mainland below Australian prices. 5-Watts will have to “write” about Joanne Nova reduced to teaching Chinese tourists how to wok a dingo.

  11. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    All US Presidents, all US politicians (with a few exceptions) are alike-servants of their owners, true members of the ruling plutocratic class. There will not be many more, I’d say, and if any proves to be really ‘environmentally conscious’, you will know that the human disease has entered its end-stage. We’re merely terminal at present.

  12. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Nick, the Bosses will never allow that. They have the power and the inclination to spill a lot of blood in order to remain fully in charge to the bitter end. Look how easily the Egyptian Spring has been strangled, and how pleased the Western pathocrats are.

  13. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Don’t forget his ‘military-industrial complex’ speech, the most honest outline of US power realities ever uttered by a US President.