Romney 2004 vs. Romney 2012 on Climate Change

In 2004, then Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney signed a Climate Change Protection Plan, available here via the Washington Post. Romney wrote in his opening:

I am proud to announce the Massachusetts Climate Protection Plan, the first in the history of the Commonwealth and among the strongest in our nation. Since taking office in January 2003, this Administration has embarked on a “no regrets” policy towards climate change. Rather than focusing our energy on the debate over the causes of global warming and the impact of human activity on climate, we have chosen to put our emphasis on actions, not discourse. If climate change is happening, the actions we take will help. If climate change is largely caused by human actions, this will really help. If we learn decades from now that climate change isn’t happening, these actions will still help our economy, our quality of life and the quality of our environment.

The plan called for “a range of strategies to achieve significant near-term reductions in GHG emissions.”

Even as recently as 2008, the Republican platform called for addressing climate change responsibly, as the WaPo blog notes, quoting the platform:

“The same human economic activity that has brought freedom and opportunity to billions has also increased the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. While the scope and longterm consequences of this are the subject of ongoing scientific research, common sense dictates that the United States should take measured and reasonable steps today to reduce any impact on the environment. Those steps, if consistent with our global competitiveness will also be good for our national security, our energy independence, and our economy.”

The 2008 platform went on to call for “technology-driven, market-based solutions that will decrease emissions, reduce excess greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, increase energy efficiency, mitigate the impact of climate change where it occurs, and maximize any ancillary benefits climate change might offer for the economy.”

And even as recently as last year, Romney said, “the world’s getting warmer,” and “I believe that humans contribute,” and “I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases.”

Last night, presidential nominee Mitt Romney said:

President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans. And to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.

Anyone watching the speech will remember the laughter from the convention attendees after Romney’s first line. Climate Change went from being a serious problem to a laugh line. And Romney went from endorsing an innovative, if market-oriented, attempt to curb GHG emissions and slow climate change to towing the party line which belittles the seriousness of climate change and denies the scientific consensus on its magnitude, causes and consequences. The 2012 Republican platform mentions climate change just once, in a criticism of President Obama’s national security policy:

Finally, the [current Administration’s] strategy subordinates our national security interests to environmental, energy, and international health issues, and elevates “climate change” to the level of a “severe threat” equivalent to foreign aggression. The word “climate,” in fact, appears in the current President’s strategy more often than Al Qaeda, nuclear proliferation, radical Islam, or weapons of mass destruction.

Maybe Mitt Romney’s family will be ok as the ocean level rises, and extreme weather like heat waves and droughts become more common. For the rest of us, stopping or slowing climate change is one of the most important things the government can do to help our families. Where have you gone, Mitt Romney of 2004?



  1. a misanthropologist

     /  September 3, 2012

    A rising ocean lifts all yachts

  2. As Massachusetts Governor, Mitt “supported abortion, gun control, universal health insurance* and programmes to combat climate change” (The Sunday Times, Christina Lamb, 26.08.12).

    He’s done a total U-turn on these policies, presumably to pander to the Tea Party. Disgusting.

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