After looking over GOP speeches from this primary cycle, especially those wherein Mitt Romney stated (and restated) his belief in man-made global warming, it occurred to me that many of his positions sound eerily familiar, if not strikingly similar, to those held by President Barack Obama. And after looking more closely, it was interesting to set statements from the two side by side and see how little difference there actually is between them on environmental issues.
First of all, as I alluded to above, they both believe in man-made global warming. For example, during the 2008 president debates Obama said, “I think that the climate change issue is the most serious environmental issue that we face.” And in between the time he was elected president in November 2008 and the time he was sworn into office in January 2009, he voiced his belief that man-made global warming was taking a serious toll on the earth:
Few challenges facing America – and the world – are more urgent than combating global climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear. Sea levels are rising. Coast lines are shrinking. We’ve seen record drought spreading famine, and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season.
When Romney gave a speech in New Hampshire this past summer, he made clear his belief in man-made global warming as well:
I don’t speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world’s getting warmer. I can’t prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that.
While we know empirically that Obama’s belief in global warming translated into a pursuit of cap-and-trade policies, green jobs, electric cars (that catch on fire), and what is quickly becoming an energy disaster for our country, it’s important to note that Romney also wants to act on his global warming convictions. As he said in New Hampshire: “I think it’s important for us to reduce our emission of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and the global warming that you’re seeing.”
For his part, Romney continually states his opposition to cap-and-trade policies, the kind of policies Obama pursues to punish us for owning SUVs or to tax us to infinity over emissions. Yet in 2005, when Romney was Gov. of Massachusetts, he boasted about the stringent emissions limits he’d put in place: “[Massachusetts is] the first and only state to set CO2 emissions limits on power plants.”
Speaking of power plants, this brings us to some serious common ground between Obama and Romney: neither of whom has a kind word to say about coal. During the 2008 presidential campaign, while speaking on the type of energy policy he would pursue as president, Obama said that once his policies were place, “if someone wants to build a coal powered plant they can, it’s just that it’ll bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”
In a similar vein, Romney, after less than a year as Gov. of Massachusetts, stood with environmental activists outside of a coal powered plant in his state and said: “I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people, and that plant, that plant kills people.”