I’ve been tough (I think) in challenging former Minnesota Gov. (and now presidential candidate) Tim Pawlenty about his past support for cap-and-trade and policies to constrain carbon dioxide emissions. In December 2009, when he first started visiting New Hampshire, he was still talking like CO2 was pollution, and still failed to remove his state from the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Accord:
Q: Do you think there’s man-made climate change?
Pawlenty: “Well, there’s definitely climate change. The more interesting question is how much is a result of natural causes and how much, if any, is attributable to human behavior. And that’s what the scientific dispute is about.”
Q: Were do you fall on the spectrum?
Pawlenty: “It’s something we have to look to the science on. The weight of the evidence is that most of it, maybe all of it, is because of natural causes. But to the extent there is some element of human behavior causing some of it - that’s what the scientific debate is about. That’s why we’ve seen all this back and forth between some of those prominent scientists in the world arguing about that very point.”
Q: There is a strong case for man-made climate change, according to a University of Miami climate researcher I’ve spoken to. You don’t agree with him?
Pawlenty: “There’s lots of layers to it. But at least as to any potential man-made contribution to it, it’s fair to say the science is in dispute. There’s a lot of people who say the majority of the scientists think this way. And there’s a minority that way. And you count the number of scientists versus the quality of scientists and the like. But I think it’s fair to say that, as to whether and how much - if any - is attributable to human behavior, there’s dispute and controversy over it….. Cap and trade I thought is a ham-fisted, expensive, job-ruing economy-stifling approach.”
So now he doubts the mirage of “scientific consensus,” seems to understand the climate realist perspective, and challenges the stupidity of overhauling the economy to address the dubious “problem.” That’s a lot of progress, and now it seems there’s some consistency in his views.
Paul Chesser is executive director for the American Tradition Institute and a senior fellow for the Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives. The views he expresses do not necessarily reflect the views of these organizations.
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