On his official campaign site, www.mittromney.com, Mitt Romney has a section devoted to his stands on political issues called "Issue Watch". In the page on "Energy", he is quoted as saying:
"We're using too much oil... We have an answer. We can use alternative sources of energy -- biodiesel, ethanol, nuclear power -- and we can drill for more oil here. We can be more energy independent and we can be far more efficient in the use of that energy."
- Governor Romney, Waterloo Courier, September 29, 2006
This is a somewhat vague stance to have on such an important issue. In one brief paragraph, his motivation for pursuing alternative energy and drilling for more oil in America is summarized as: "we must become independent from foreign sources of oil". Thus, his reasoning behind any reduction in energy consumption is political; he implies that a reduction in oil consumption would reduce our ties to the Middle East, which he vehemently crusades against on other parts of his site. He makes no mention of climate change, which should be a major issue in politics right now considering the most recent data taken at the North pole, which shows dramatic and unexpected decreases in the size of the ice sheets this summer. Instead, he suggests oil drilling in the Arctic national Wildlife Refuge, which would wreak havoc on the natural environment there.
In a press release from Thursday, Mar 08, 2007, Romney states that he is willing to fund research for alternative energy such as “biodiesel, ethanol, nuclear, and coal gasification”, but he makes no mention of how much money he will allocate to this research.
As governor of Massachusetts, Romney allowed the passage of Massachusetts Climate Protection Plan , which committed Massachusetts to achieve ten specific goals, including the reduction of "GHG emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2010" and in the long term, a reduction in CO2 levels to "75-85% below current levels" ( Massachusetts State Government). However, when he announced the passage of this plan, Romney seemed ambivalent about the veracity of climate change. In an official letter attached to the plan, he stated, "If climate change is happening, the actions we take will help…If climate change is largely caused by human action, this will really help. If we learn decades from now that climate change isn't happening, these actions will still help our economy, our quality of life, and the quality of our environment" (Ebbert). Today, as he adopts a running platform that he believes will appeal to conservative America, Romney seems unlikely to strive to implement a similar program on the national level. In a February 2007 press release, Governor Romney stated, "Unfortunately, some in the Republican Party are embracing the radical environmental ideas of the liberal left. As governor, I found that thoughtful environmentalism need not be anti-growth and anti-jobs. But Kyoto-style sweeping mandates, imposed unilaterally in the United States, would kill jobs, depress growth and shift manufacturing to the dirtiest developing nations." Governor Romney is concerned about the economic implications of environmental reforms, and is presumably unwilling to strive for better fuel economy standards or any serious reduction in CO2 emissions. He is only willing to support research as a means to reduce oil consumption because he believes it will create jobs and benefit the economy.
The bottom line is that we need a President with enough courage and foresight to make huge changes in America's environmental policy. Mitt Romney gets a D+ for understanding that we need to decrease our dependence on foreign oil and research alternative energy sources, but being unwilling to accept the reality of climate change.
Ebbert, Stephanie. "Romney hedges on global warming". Boston Globe. 7 May, 2004.
Massachusetts State Government. Executive. Office for Commonwealth Development. Massachusetts Climate Protection Plan 0 2004. 31 Oct. 2007
Photo Credit: This United States Congress Image is in the public domain.
Elena Moreno, Cornell University Student