Once again, Mitt Romney is being accused of flip-flopping. As governor of Massachusetts, and later as a 2008 GOP presidential candidate, the Republican said he believed that man-made pollution was contributing to a planetary warming trend. But on the campaign trail last week, Romney seemed to soften that stance, saying that "we don't know what's causing climate change," and "the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us." Has Romney decided that the scientific consensus on climate change is wrong?
Romney has slowly morphed into a climate-change denier: Many people now say that "Romney has flipped on climate change," says Josh Petri at Talking Points Memo. But he didn't do it overnight. The change over the last several months has been almost imperceptible. Before he hit the campaign trail in earnest, Romney said people were at least partly responsible for climate change. By August, he was sidestepping the issue, saying "he's no scientist." And now, Romney's view is that "we don't know" the cause. As flip-flops go, it's a "very slow" one.
"Romney's very slow flip-flop on climate change"
This is not a big change: Sure, in these latest comments, Romney didn't "specifically mention that he believed humans are partially responsible for climate change," says Katrina Trinko in National Review. But that doesn't mean he's renounced that view. Romney has always "been careful to stress how little is known about what causes climate change and how he himself is uncertain over how much of it is caused by humans." Doesn't sound like much has changed.
"Romney and climate change"
Romney's position remains "squishy": Romney might be trying to sound less "reasonable" to win over conservative climate-change deniers, says Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones. But the truth is that he has "been squishy on climate [change] for a long time." His line about how the science isn't clear is a dog whistle that tells global warming deniers that Romney is on their side. That's Mitt's trademark: "He says things that sound vaguely reasonable," then "when it comes time to actually take action, he jumps ship."
"Sorry guys, Mitt has always been squishy on climate"