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Pawlenty: There is a ‘scientific dispute’ on climate change

Before going off to the Council on Foreign Relations to give a speech on foreign policy, former Minnesota governor and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty appeared on Fox & Friends Tuesday morning. Asked about his stance on cap and trade, he acknowledged that he had changed his mind. He added, “I denounced it for a variety of reasons, one of which is the science is bad and it’s in great dispute,” repeating once more that there is a “scientific dispute” about the issue of climate change.

But there isn’t.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reviewed the scientific analyses on the subject in 2007 and found that it is “very likely” — greater than 90 percent certainty — that most of the increase in global temperatures since the mid-20th century was due to increased greenhouse gas emissions. The American Association of the Advancement of Science wrote in 2007, “The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society.” The National Academy of Sciences also agrees that global warming is real and largely man-made.

Pawlenty has shifted from saying that global warming is real and human-caused to voicing skepticism about the science. In a 2007 press release, he said, “[O]ur global climate is warming, at least in part due to the energy sources we use. We cannot solve it by ourselves, but we need to lead and do our part. We also need to push for an effective national and international effort.”

And at the National Governors Association Meeting he said, “We should have listened to President Carter… We should not spend time on voices that say [climate change] is not real.” But, in December 2009 when asked about the Copenhagen Climate Change summit, he said the science was “unsettled.”

Leaked e-mails from Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon asked its journalists to “refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.”

Gov. Mitt Romney has acknowledged this fact. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has reflected the GOP standard on cap and trade, while once supporting it like Mr. Pawlenty, now saying that it can’t be done in the recession. And that’s the position of most Republicans. Republicans like Sen. John McCain and Lindsey Graham supported a cap-and-trade plan, but fears of a bad economy and being attacked from the right led them to disavow the plan.

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