Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman attempted to recover from attacks on climate science he made yesterday at the Heritage Foundation, reclaiming his “faith and trust in science.” At a oil-industry-sponsored blogger briefing on Tuesday, Huntsman said that the “scientific community owes us more,” citing “questions about the validity of the science.” Speaking to reporters today, Huntsman tried to argue he was just mentioning the existence of climate skeptics, not casting his lot with polluter-supported deniers:
I put my faith and trust in science. So you have 99 of 100 climate scientists who have come out and talked about climate change in certain terms, what is responsible for it. I tend to say this is a discussion that should not be in the political lane but should be in the scientific lane. Is there a one percent that has a disagreement? There’s a one percent that has a disagreement. Will those discussions continue, as they always do in the scientific community, to clear up those areas of ambiguity? I suspect so. But, as for me, I’m on the side of science on this one.
The “side of science” is straightforward: urgent action is needed to rapidly reduce carbon pollution to avoid catastrophic risks. Unfortunately, even though Huntsman’s rhetorical support of science is preferable to the slander and denigration that his opponents prefer, Huntsman still rejects the conclusion that global warming poses an immediate threat to society:
When you have 99 out of 100 climate scientists, there’s enough there for us to say we have an established body of science. Now it would be a very good thing to coordinate that science with the other major emitters on the globe, recognizing that it is an international problem. I don’t want to disadvantage this country during a time when we are weak economically and want to get back on our feet.
This do-nothing stance is no change from what Huntsman said yesterday, when he was casting explicit doubt on the scientific community: “There’s not information right now to formulate policies in terms of addressing it over all.”
And it’s no different than his do-nothing stance expressed in May, when he said “this isn’t the moment” to fight the climate pollution threat.