After declaring in June that he believed humans are contributing to global warming, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney reversed course Thursday to say "we don't know what's causing climate change."
"My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet," he told an audience at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. "And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us. My view with regards to energy policy is pretty straightforward: I want us to become energy secure and independent of the oil cartels."
Romney's remarks came in response to an audience member's question about whether as president he would reject programs such as cap and trade legislation.
"I do not believe in a cap and trade program," Romney said. "By the way, they don't call it 'America warming,' they call it global warming. So the idea of America spending massive amounts, trillions of dollars to stop global warming is not a great idea. It loses jobs for Americans and ultimately won't be successful, because industries that are energy intensive will just give up and go somewhere else."
His answer is in direct contrast to unequivocal statements he made during a campaign stop in New Hampshire in June.
“I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that,” he said. “It’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may be significant contributors.”
Fellow GOP candidate Rick Perry was quick to jump on Romney's about-face. The Texas governor called global warming "one contrived phony mess" in his book, "Fed Up!"
"Mitt Romney's positions change, often dramatically, depending on the audience or location," Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan said. "Voters need to consider the fact that Romney, in one week, changed positions on manmade global warming, capping carbon emissions and Ohio's efforts to curb union powers."
A Romney campaign spokesman said Friday the candidate has been “nothing but consistent on this issue,” The Hill reported.
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is the only major Republican candidate in the field who embraces the idea of global warming. In August, he slammed Perry for saying he didn't believe in manmade global warming, calling it "a position that basically runs counter" to science.