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Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has burnished his climate skeptic credentials by casting doubt on the idea of anthropogenic global warming.
Speaking at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire, Romney said that, although he agrees that the world is getting warmer, he is not sure whether or not the increased temperatures are caused by human activity.
“Do I think the world’s getting hotter? Yeah, I don’t know that but I think that it is,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s mostly caused by humans.” “What I’m not willing to do is spend trillions of dollars on something I don’t know the answer to,” he continued.
Shortly after announcing his candidacy in June, Romney caused a stir in conservative circles by calling for action to limit pollutants in order to combat climate change.
“I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and global warming that you’re seeing,” he said.
Surveys have shown that many Republicans are skeptical of the idea of anthropogenic global warming, and Romney may well have feared that his previous statement was undermining his support. Although he was once the Republican front-runner, recent polls show him trailing Texas governor Rick Perry.
Perry has already established himself as a leading climate skeptic. He has been a vociferous critic of the Obama administration’s climate change policies, and has criticized the Environmental Protection Agency on a number of occasions. Perry has even gone so far as to accuse climate scientists of manipulating data in order to obtain grant money.
Such stalwart opposition to the Obama administration’s environmental policies has already earned Perry the endorsement of Oklahoma senator Jim Inhofe. When announcing his decision, Inhofe accused Romney of being “a little mushy” on environmental issues. Last month, Romney’s camp attempted to draw a distinction between ‘greenhouse gases’ and ‘pollutants.’
“Gov. Romney does not think greenhouse gases are pollutants within the meaning of the Clean Air Act, and he does not believe that the EPA should be regulating them,” said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul. “CO2 is a naturally occurring gas. Humans emit it every time they exhale.”
Although many in the GOP may question global warming, a 2010 study by the National Academy of Sciences found that “climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities and poses significant risks,” and most climate scientists across the globe endorse this thesis.
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