Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), in a neck-and-neck fight to unseat Sen. Mark Udall and under pressure to moderate his views in an increasingly blue state, is trying to have it both ways on climate change.
In a Monday debate Gardner said that “there is no doubt that pollution contributes” to climate change. But he ducked the direct question of whether climate change is human-caused and rejected any serious attempts to combat carbon pollution.
In admitting that pollution causes climate change, Gardner reversed the position he took in January on an amendment to a GOP energy bill that made it clear that climate change is real. And he walked further away from where he was in a previous House election when he said: “I think the climate is changing, but I don’t believe humans are causing that change to the extent that’s been in the news.”
Gardner’s answer in Monday’s debate, sponsored by Politico, came in response to a direct question asking if people are responsible for climate change. He went on to say he wouldn’t support legislation to cut carbon pollution that would financially hurt Colorado farmers, ranchers and families.
Even though he waffled, Gardner’s acknowledgement that climate change is occurring, and is caused by pollution, represents yet another example of how he is struggling to move to the middle as he nears the November election. Gardner’s positioning comes as the most recent polling in the tight race gives Udall a slight edge.
In January, Gardner voted with 23 of his GOP colleagues on the House Energy and Commerce Committee in defeating an amendment to the Electricity Security and Affordability Act that would have put the panel on record as accepting that climate change is happening and is caused by greenhouse gas pollution.
Udall, for his part, affirmed his support for putting a price on carbon, and declined to answer when pressed by Gardner on what that price should be.