Romney Surrogate Praises Obama Initiatives For Reducing CO2, Says Romney Is ‘Not A Denier’ Of Climate Change

Maybe it’s the record heat we just experienced in Washington, but I am very confused.

Since last summer, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been saying that “we don’t know” if humans are causing climate change — flipping in the opposite direction from his earlier position as Governor, when he called for a “no regrets policy” on addressing climate change.

But as we head into the general election, a surrogate from the Romney campaign now indicates the candidate has again changed his stance, declaring that he is “certainly not a denier” of climate science.

Speaking at a debate on energy issues today between representatives of the Romney and Obama campaigns, former Deputy Secretary of Energy Linda Gillespie Stunz implied multiple times that Mitt Romney would be open to action on the issue.

Stunz mostly danced around the questions on climate, criticizing EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and dismissing any domestic action without more international coordination. But in providing her answers, she also strongly hinted that a Romney Administration would engage in international talks on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s a huge challenge. But it’s one that Governor Romney would face up to by continuing dialogues … with other countries. This is not a problem that can be addressed by the U.S. alone,” said Stunz, speaking at an event put together this morning by the Business Roundtable.

She was debating Dan Reicher, former assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, who spoke on behalf of the Obama campaign.

Stunz also said there “needs to be more research on adaptation. He’s certainly not a denier, he certainly thinks there’s more room for research.”

Stunz’s comments mark a noticeable shift in rhetoric that potentially complicates the Romney campaign’s messaging. Now that a representative for the campaign is back on record claiming (in a round-about way) that Romney believes climate change is an issue that needs to be addressed, does that now mean he will begin talking about it during the general election?

Up until now, Romney has been focused exclusively on appealing to voters on the extreme right — and in the process turned his back on previous support for efficiency, renewable energy, and reducing carbon emissions.

But with polls showing that that a large majority of Americans understand that climate change is accelerating, support government action on the issue, and strongly desire more renewable energy, the Romney campaign may be faced with another decision: Should the candidate flip back to a more moderate stance?

They may need to bring out the Etch A Sketch on this one.

We’ve come to expect changes like this from Romney, a candidate who has drastically altered his position on virtually every issue. But it’s one of Stunz’s other comments that really has me confused.

In describing appropriate ways to limit carbon emissions, she said Romney believes that initiatives already in place — things like fuel economy standards, appliance standards, and efficiency targets — are the solution to lowering carbon emissions.

“We are effectively de-carbonizing our economy in ways that we had not foreseen,” said Stunz, referencing measures undertaking by the Obama administration.

Wait a second. Didn’t Romney say last December that he would roll back existing fuel economy standards? And don’t I also remember him falsely claiming that new light bulb efficiency standards meant the government had “banned” incandescent lights?

So which is it?

Romney’s campaign has twisted itself into knots on the issue of climate change, and it’s unclear where the candidate will stand when he’s finally untied himself.

16 Responses to Romney Surrogate Praises Obama Initiatives For Reducing CO2, Says Romney Is ‘Not A Denier’ Of Climate Change

  1. SecularAnimist says:

    It is not at all “unclear” where Romney will stand.

    He will stand with the Koch Brothers.

    Stunz’s remark that Romney is “not a denier, he certainly thinks there’s more room for research” is self-contradictory BS. To say that “there’s more room for research” is merely to restate exactly what Romney has already said, that “we don’t know” whether anthropogenic GHG emissions are causing global warming — so “more research” is required to determine whether that is the case.

    Which is a lie. Which is to say, denial.

    Sure, a Romney administration would “continue dialogs with other countries”. So did the Cheney/Bush administration. And just like the Cheney/Bush administration, those “dialogs” would have the purpose of postponing any reduction in fossil fuel use for as long as possible.

  2. paul magnus says:

    Yeah and what about that keystone pipeline and the tar sands…. time to close them down right Mitt?

  3. BillD says:

    One problem is that efficiency standards and increased efficiency in general has never reduced energy usage. We now have more efficient refrigerators and each home has two refigerators and a freezer. At best, more efficiency will only slow the increase in CO2 emissions.

    Obama needs to sharpen his focus to contrast with Romney’s wishy washy approach. Does Romney favor alternatives to fossil fuel and is he willing to tilt the playing field in their favor? Doesn’t seem likely.

  4. fj says:

    Then, let’s get this country to work rapidly reducing emissions, restoring the environment, and addressing climate change at wartime speed.

  5. Tami Kennedy says:

    But the EPA isn’t doing its job, that’s why we have climate change… Or this is one of the cases where the U.S. doesn’t lead the world under a Romney presidency. At least indicate he’ll try.

  6. Mark Shapiro says:

    Every climate hawk on Earth knows whom to vote for in this election.

    We don’t have a perfect choice, but we sure have an easy one.

  7. Outraged says:

    I hear they’ve got this glitch fixed in Romneybot Release 2.0…

  8. pluege says:

    romney has to be the most non-existent breathing human being on the planet. He will say literally anything, anytime. He believes in nothing, he stands for nothing. His only purpose is to acquire wealth, fame, and power for himself.

  9. D. R. Tucker says:

    With a wave of epic weather events across the country over the past few days and weeks could this be the turning point on climate change awareness and action? We’ll talk to Dr. Amanda Staudt, climate and energy scientist with The National Wildlife Federation about the carbon connection to wildfires, droughts and violent storms, oh my! Next filmmaker, Craig Rosebraugh, tells us why he teamed up with Daryl Hannah to make Greedy, Lying Bastards, a new film about consequences of a fossil fuel industry with too much power.

    Read more:
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

  10. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Then limit homes to one freezer. After all, this is a matter of life and death for billions, and I utterly reject the sort of negative ‘freedom’ that puts one’s greedy stupidity before the lives of others.

  11. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    He believes in himself, but, apparently, not much else. An enlarger of humanity he seems not to be.

  12. bob h says:

    As the corn crop burns to a crisp this Summer and food prices start to rise, Obama will make the Republicans look like the fools they are.

  13. Paul Hoover says:

    Perhaps we need a “War on Climate”, silly me Republicans have already declared war on the climate.

  14. climatehawk1 says:

    Linda’s last name is Stuntz.

  15. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘Cunning’ Stuntz?