CAP AND TRADE, ORIGINALLY A CONSERVATIVE IDEA
Republicans at one time praised cap and trade as a market-based environmental solution, but recently conservatives have taken to condemning it as an energy tax. Nowadays, you won’t hear Republican presidential candidates say anything but "no" to whether they favor it.
Now, they’re so eager to declare their opposition, and the candidates at times have fudged their own records on the subject.
"My focus as it comes to this topic is to get us off of our dependence on foreign oil, to use our natural gas, to drill for our oil, to use our coal, clean coal, to develop nuclear power, to use solar and wind and efficiency measures, that’s my priority. There are other people who would like to put in place a cap-and-trade program and dramatically increase the cost of energy. That’s their view. And by the way, that would kill a lot of jobs. And I don’t think it’s going to solve the problem of global warming."
"I do not believe in a cap-and-trade program. By the way, they do not call it America warming, they call it global warming. So the idea of America spending massive amounts, trillions of dollars to somehow stop global warming is not a great idea. It loses jobs for Americans, and ultimately it won’t be successful, because industries that are energy-intensive will [would] just get up and go somewhere else. So it doesn’t make any sense at all. My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us."
WHAT ROMNEY DID RELATIVE TO THIS
His actions as governor better prove his skepticism of the policy than his support for it. When he could have signed it into law, he declined. And more recently, Romney has repeatedly said he’s opposed to it. [And when asked for evidence of Romney's support for cap and trade, the Santorum campaign failed to produce any. We rate the claim False.] Politifact.com
Cap and trade seeks to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and other greenhouse gas sources by setting caps on the amount of pollutants a plant can spew into the air. Companies that come in below their caps are allowed to sell emission credits to other companies that need them.
EXTREME POLLUTION: CLEAR
Mr. Romney joined activists outside an aging, coal-fired plant in 2003 to show his commitment to the emissions caps. "I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people, and that plant, that plant kills people," he said.
On Dec. 7, 2005, the Romney administration unveiled the final orders. "These carbon emission limits will provide real and immediate progress in the battle to improve our environment," then-Gov. Romney said in a press release touting Massachusetts as "the first and only state to set CO2 emissions limits on power plants."
Governor Mitt Romney today announced that Massachusetts will take another major step in meeting its commitment to protecting air quality when strict state limitations on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants take effect on January 1, 2006. …
Massachusetts is the first and only state to set CO2 emissions limits on power plants. The limits, which target the six largest and oldest power plants in the state, are the toughest in the nation… [Doesn't this seem reasonable, even if you're conservative. Allowing people to be harmed, when it is clear, is not something a conservative would want.]
In addition to reaffirming existing stringent CO2 limits, the draft regulations announced today, which will be filed next week, contain protections against excessive price increases for businesses and consumers. They allow power generation companies to implement CO2 reductions at their own facilities or fund other reduction projects off-site through a greenhouse gas offset and credits program.
THE FINAL DECISION
"Going back further, when Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he considered joining a regional cap-and-trade compact known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. But when it came time to sign the deal, Romney backed out citing "a lack of economic safeguards," according to POLITICO.
We think that’s good evidence that Romney once held (or considered) at least cautious support for cap and trade. But the Massachusetts episode also shows that he withdrew his support when the policy was tested against economic considerations.
It makes sense to investigate to establish what is right and what will work. In the end, after being fully informed, Romney declined to sign any cap and trade bill because of "economic" tradeoffs being too great.
In the development of greenhouse gas policy, Romney Administration officials have elicited input from environmental and economic policy experts. These include John Holden [sic], professor of environmental policy at Harvard University…
In October 2011, speaking at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Romney was asked directly whether he favors it.
Here’s a portion of his answer: "I do not believe in a cap-and-trade program. By the way, they do not call it America warming, they call it global warming. So the idea of America spending massive amounts, trillions of dollars to somehow stop global warming is not a great idea. It loses jobs for Americans, and ultimately it won’t be successful, because industries that are energy-intensive will just get up and go somewhere else. So it doesn’t make any sense at all. My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us."
That’s a slight change from some of his earlier statements about global warming, where he said he believes climate change is, at least in part, caused by human activity.
"I believe that climate change is occurring – the reduction in the size of global ice caps is hard to ignore. I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor. I am uncertain how much of the warming, however, is attributable to man and how much is attributable to factors out of our control," Romney wrote in his 2010 book No Apology.