Romney on Climate Change: “Spending trillions to reduce CO2 is not the right course”

Just so there’s no confusion, climate-world is upon us. This will be the last election where climate discussion can make a change, in my view. If we’re still dinking around in 2016, we’re dinking too late.

I’ve been very critical of Obama in this regard — I still expect him to approve the Keystone Sludge Pipe as soon as he’s safe-harbored from elections, and the man does like to drill. But I’d be remiss in not focusing on Romney-Ryan as well. Mr. Job Creator (and his Boy Robin) will surely deliver the unkindest cuts of all — the opposite of cuts to carbon production; full speed ahead. I case you missed these as they went past, here’s a taste of Romney’s energy awareness and plan.

Boston Globe, 5/7/2004 (my emphasis everywhere; no link on this one):

“Rather than get caught up in debate, Romney said, his administration decided to move forward. ‘I’m not a scientist,’ he said. ‘I read one book over the summer that said, “gee, global warming is happening for reasons unrelated to human participation,” and other reports, far more, indicate, “no no, it’s very much driven by humans.” Well, I don’t know.’” [Boston Globe, 5/7/04]

Boston Globe, 10/28/2011:

“‘My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet,’ Romney said in the speech, a clip of which was posted by the liberal blog Think Progress. ‘And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.’”

Reuters 9/20/2012:

The Romney-Hamm Energy Plan “Doesn’t Mention Climate Change Or Include Steps For Reducing U.S. Oil Consumption.”

The agenda doesn’t mention climate change or include steps for reducing U.S. oil consumption.

K. Kaufmann in the Palm Springs Desert Sun, 9/2/12 (archived article):

Romney’s Energy Plan Focuses On Mining And Fossil Fuels Without Mentioning Climate Change Or Public Health Impact

“Then there’s the glaring absence of any mention of climate change or how much more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases all that mining, transportation and fossil fuel-burning will cause, not to mention public health impact. Renewable energy and energy-efficiency also get short shrift from Romney. Any federal support would be limited to basic research — no incentives for solar, wind or other renewable businesses.”

Tom Zeller Jr in the HuffPost, 8/30/2012:

“The words ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’ are nowhere to be found in the 21-page [Romney energy plan] document. The term ‘greenhouse gas’ appears just once, in a passage decrying the Obama administration’s efforts to curb noxious emissions from the nation’s coal-fired power plants.” [Tom Zeller Jr., Huffington Post, 8/30/12]

 

Climate via Shutterstock

Carbon, carbon, carbon, baby

Whatever you think of the Obama administration’s feeble nods in this direction (and yes, aggressive drilling), do not doubt the RomneyRyan plan — “Carbon, carbon, carbon, baby; all you can eat, drink or breathe.”

Noam Chomsky once said that if you replace the word “jobs”‘  with the word “profits” in right-wing speech, the words are exactly right. So yes, these are your “profit creators” in all their nakedness.

Why does this matter? Click to see my personal climate model. As noted above, my current estimate says that if climate is discussed at the presidential level in 2016, it will be for show. If we’re still deciding by then, it’s over. We need that climate discussion now.

So here’s a start from your humble correspondent. Mother nature seems to be doing her part as well. (That it has come to that is tragic.)

GP

To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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  • theoracle

    Well, once we trash this planet we can just relocate to another one…can’t we? There’ll be a massive effort and huge amounts of money to build enough spaceships to airlift humanity to a more hospitable planet…right?

  • Dano2

    if you think climate greenweenie money drives hundreds of journal paper outcomes that obfuscate a n ideologically-correct reality, then you are exactly the type of person I’ve been looking for to share in my can’t-miss once in a lifetime business opportunity, friend! Kindly respond to my e-mail to learn how lucky you are!

    Best,

    D

  • hollywoodstein

    I’m certain our patriotic financial betters will support it because it’s the right thing to do.

    #yesthiswasavoidable

  • hollywoodstein

    NYT’s article about measures that could’ve been taken years ago to protect the city but weren’t due to cost.  How about this solution.  A Financial Transactions Tax to pay for the Sea Gates necessary to protect Manhattan. 

  • hollywoodstein

    New York Times has an artic.e today that leaders are going to take a look at options like Sea Gates.  Coulda shoulda been done a long time ago if they had listened to the scientists.

  • jfreed27

    A simple poem, I think, says it all..

    Death
    Spiral Ditty.  
     
     
    O, The Kochs grew fat on their fossil fuels, 
    And hired Heartless Stink Tanks of fossil ghouls 
    Who cook up half-truths for blind fossil fools 
    Who then elect Koch-sucking fossil tools 
    Now more treasure protects the Koch’s deadly rule! 
    — 
    Exxon Mobil spreads death on scales global 
    And plants Congress with zombies of no soul. 
    CO2 it doth spew 
    To screw me and you 
    Till our demise on this dear Earth is total !
    — 
    Shell NO! Do not go, 
    (Though vast profits lie far below)
    To the pristine Arctic snows 
     
    Though Congress has its wanton ho’s 
    You know your poison grows and grows.
    Leave the land to Eskimos.
     
    Shell NO! Do not go!
     —
    Asks Keystone Sludge of Canada,

    “May we
    borrow America?

    And wrest
    the farm of your Ma and Pa?*

     

    And fill your
    air with C excreta?

    And trash forests
    vast as Florida?”

     

    Tell them,
    “NO. we’ll go with wind and sola’!

     

    * 78-year-old Eleanor Fairchild was recently arrested for
    trespassing on her own 300 acre ranch in Winnsboro, Texas. The
    great-grandmother was protesting the Keystone XL bulldozers roaring through her
    property — a project which forced Fairchild to give up her property rights in
    the name of Big Oil.
     

  • jfreed27

    Just to point out…trillions spent on alternatives would not be money down a rat hole.  In a number of years there would be a return on investment.  For example, my solar roof will provide a ROI in about 6 years. Then for the next 34 years or so (life of panels) my energy bills (though rates will increase) will be next to zero.

  • eggroll_jr

    The irony is that had the US moved just a decade ago, spending 1-1.3% of GDP to move to a low-carbon, clean economy, we’d be well on our way. The problem is that the costs of getting out of trouble as we move further and further into the 6th Great Extinction Event rise logarithmically to the trillions Mitt is talking about. If you want cheap, start action that will bring US carbon equivalent production per capita down to 8 tons a year and demand that this be the standard for all 157 WTO members wishing to keep trading. This is really a good deal for a lot of emerging economies, including two of the BRICs, as well as a reward for good performers like countries in northern Europe. It would also make the practice of offshoring emissions pretty difficult.   

  • QAdams

    As you said, Gaius, climate-world is upon us. We are now firmly in the anthropocene, living within a new era and in a remade world fashioned by human endeavor. 

    It has taken us only 200 years, since the start of the Industrial Revolution, to dramatically alter the atmosphere and the climate. Now that we’ve done so, the deadly consequences — both for ourselves and for literally thousands of doomed species – will last for millennia. [http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/elements_of_biodiversity/extinction_crisis/index.html]

    I’m glad that you continue to sound the alarm on this issue, and I appreciate the valiant efforts you’ve made to begin crafting solutions, or at least to point us in that direction. But don’t you sometimes feel like you’re holding a candle in a hurricane? That your voice and the voices of people like Gore and McKibben are almost not being heard at all? That no matter what, it is already too late?

    I know, I understand, it’s better to try something than to do nothing. Better to cling to hope than succumb to despair. 

    More and more, though, I find myself in the camp that thinks the smart course now is to start planning how to live, to survive, in a world utterly changed. A world that is bleak, ravaged, and even more sharply divided between the haves and the have-nothings. That dystopia we are busily making. 

    But shoulder on, brother. I support what you are doing, even though my cheers may sometimes sound listless. Go, Gaius!

  • hollywoodstein

    And just what was NYC’s plan for this disaster.  Go ahead and let the section A basin flood, go ahead and let the tunnels flood, we’ll clean the sludge out later.  It seems that was the plan. 
    And the Dept. of Homeland Security, wasn’t there anything that could’ve been planned to mitigate the effects even if there was nothing that could’ve been done.   For all of the money spent on theater, it seems no one had a plan to do anything.

  • Naja pallida

    Almost every single major technological innovation in this country has had its roots in government money, or by government benevolence, such as land use… and even those that weren’t directly funded by government money, benefited because government has later invested heavily in its use. Advances have been driven by government, largely through regulation, because private investment is happy to maintain the status quo unless they can guarantee a profit. R&D is expensive and rarely pays off. If government isn’t going to push hard to address climate change, it simply isn’t going to happen… and when half our government is praying for the end-times instead of doing its job, well, that can only have one result.

  • Indigo

    There is no ‘climate discussion.’ There’s militants talking but there’s no discussion. There’s scientists aware and there’s scientists guarding the portals of their grant-granting machines. Grants most commonly come from the government or from conservative funding sources and in both cases, are careful to endow only what address their interests. There’s no ‘climate discussion’ beyond the profound concern of the isolated few. By 2016, the isolated few will have been set quietly aside or quietly reclassified as irrelevant. No hope.

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