Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney seems to be on the campaign trail again, telling a gathering in Iowa that while he thinks global warming is real and a problem, he hopes skeptics of man-made global warming are right.
“He said it’s not enough for Americans to keep their own carbon emissions in check when much of the rise in greenhouse gases globally is coming from countries such as China and India,” reports the Des Moine Register.
The former Republican presidential candidate has not had a lot to say on global warming in the past. During the 2012 election, neither Romney nor President Barack Obama spoke a lot on global warming. In fact, Obama took the time to defend his record on oil and natural gas drilling against attacks from Romney.
“We have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years,” Obama said in a 2012 presidential debate. “Natural gas production is the highest it’s been in decades. We have seen increases in coal production and coal employment. That’s why we doubled clean — clean energy production like wind and solar and biofuels.”
“And the president’s right in terms of the additional oil production, but none of it came on federal land,” Romney shot back during the debate. “As a matter of fact, oil production is down 14 percent this year on federal land, and gas production was down 9 percent.”
“Why? Because the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands, and in federal waters,” Romney said.
Romney also attacked Obama for his so-called “war on coal” — a rallying cry for coal state lawmakers who saw federal environmental regulations shuttering coal power plants and coal mines.
“I was in coal country. People grabbed my arms and said, ‘Please save my job.’ The head of the EPA said, ‘You can’t build a coal plant… [I]t’s virtually impossible given our regulations.’” Romney said in 2012. “When the president ran for office, he said if you build a coal plant, you can go ahead, but you’ll go bankrupt.”
“I don’t think anyone really believes that you’re a person who’s going to be pushing for oil and gas and coal,” Romney told Obama.
Despite energy issues coming up in the election, there was very little focus on global warming itself. But that was 2012 and Romney is looking ahead to 2016 where global warming will likely be more of an issue because of pending federal regulations on greenhouse gases.
Obama made tackling global warming a major plank of his second term in office. Since that time, he has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to come up with greenhouse gas regulations for new and existing power plants, as well as methane regulations on oil and natural gas drilling.
Because of these regulations, global warming could play a bigger role in the 2016 election. Indeed, news reports have indicated Republicans have hired a political strategist to help come up with a response to Obama’s climate agenda.
“They’re going to try to drag their feet as long as possible, but there are certain things out there that could bring the predominant GOP position to light,” GOP strategist Ford O’Connell told the Examiner. “They want to at least have a unified position and they want to be able to have their ducks in a row. And if they have a solution, they want to have one that has the least impact on the economy.”
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