Tim Pawlenty Haunted by Past of Trying to Preserve a Livable Climate

Yeah, I totally stole that headline from an Onion story, Mitt Romney Haunted By Past Of Trying To Help Uninsured Sick People. I couldn't help myself -- this is pretty much the same principle in action. Tim Pawlenty, is the onetime governor of Minnesota and current 'would-be GOP presidential candidate hopeful' (why don't these guys just declare themselves candidates already, so we can drop all the qualifiers, huh?).

He was once one of many reasonable conservative politicians that acknowledged the threat posed by climate change and recognized the opportunities that lay in addressing it. He was a vocal supporter for cap and trade policy and helped Minnesota pass a plan to reduce greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050. Now, he claims that he was "wrong", and is stumbling all over himself in order to "apologize" for helping the nation to invest in cleaner energy, making the air healthier to breathe, and creating good, sustainable jobs for thousands of his constituents. Trying to preserve a livable climate for future generations? Mr. Pawlenty should be ashamed of himself.The fact that Pawlenty's work to address climate change is now one considered one of the greatest hurdles to his getting elected in the GOP primaries is telling of just how deeply anti-climate ideology has permeated the Republican base.

Watch how that ideology can infect a reasonable man -- Here's Lee Fang's summary of how Pawlenty's stance on climate evolved over the years:

  • Dec. 2006: Pawlenty lays out an ambitious clean energy program for Minnesotans to reduce their use of fossil fuels 15 percent by 2015. Cutting greenhouse gases, Pawlenty said, would "be good for the environment, good for rural economies, good for national security and good for consumers." He also calls for a regional cap and trade program.
  • May 2007: Pawlenty signs the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007, requiring the state to reduce its emissions 15 percent by 2015 and 80 percent in 2050. At the signing ceremony, Pawlenty said Minnesota was "kicking-starting the future" by "tackling greenhouse gas emissions."
  • Oct. 2007: Pawlenty declares that the climate change issue is "one of the most important of our time." He also brushes off "some flak" from right-wingers who doubt climate change science.
  • Sept. 2008: During the election, Pawlenty backs away from his own cap and trade program, says such a system would "wreck the economy." He then tells hate radio personality Glenn Beck (a climate change denier) that human activity only contributes "half a percent" to climate change.
  • Nov. 2009: Pawlenty backs away from acknowledging that any human activity is the cause of climate change.

Now that's what I call "hopping on the bandwagon". Nice work, Tim -- way to drop those erstwhile principles like a bag of rocks to sate the Tea Partying base. It occurs to me that we are going to see a field of GOP candidates wherein each will by attempt to out-disbelieve one another regarding climate change. This could get ridiculous ...

More on Tim Pawlenty
The Governor of Minnesota's Bizarre Climate Change 180
The Great Politicization of Climate Change (Part 1)

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