Mitt Romney has long taken the position that, “the world is getting warmer and that humans are contributing to that pattern.” However, upon recently reaffirming this view after declaring his official candidacy for the Republican nomination, Romney has taken criticism from a number of conservatives who think that climate change is a hoax. Romney’s claims are very mild, actually: he took no particular stand on the rapidity of climate change or the extent to which human activity is responsible, and he does not support a cap-and-trade policy approach that he believes could “put American companies at a competitive disadvantage.” There is still room for considerable political and scientific disagreement about these issues.
I don’t understand, then, why the media reports stories like these without any discussion of facts about climate change. The Washington Post included an opinion poll of what Democrats and Republicans think about the issue, respectively, but the reporting makes it seem as if such disputes represent equally reasonable or legitimate approaches. Instead, some discussion of basic evidence should be included. Reliable and current information about a broad range of climate change and energy issues can be found at Stanford University, for example. At any rate, it’s heartening to see Romney stand up to the extremists on this issue who presently dominate his party. Though I’m clearly out of touch with the current attitudes on this point, to me conservative thinking should be in large measure about prudence. I can understand, therefore, why conservatives are skeptical about policy recommendations in response to climate change. However, I cannot understand why so many insist that it’s all a hoax, or that the role of human activities is being so grossly exaggerated.