The public opinion shift is even more dramatic among Republicans. In 2007, 62% of Republicans believed there was solid evidence of global warming. Just three years later, only 38% of Republicans believed there was solid evidence of global warming and only 16% said that the warming is due to human activity.
The Atlantic reports:
Nowadays, you'd be hard pressed to find a Republican who supports the policy, after conservatives railed for two years against "cap-and-tax" as a job-killing government overreach. Backlash against the policy helped Republicans take over the House in November, after House Democrats passed Rep. Henry Waxman's (D-Calif.) cap-and-trade bill in June 2009 over resistance from the GOP minority. Republican candidates campaigned against cap-and-trade en masse in 2010, and it worked out in their favor.But what about our very own possible presidential candidate, Governor Mitch Daniels? Could he take advantage of a Republican presidential candidates weighed down by climate change opinions that have now found disfavor with the public and especially the Republican electorate.
After all that, Republican White House hopefuls have revised their previously held energy stances.
Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty supported cap-and-trade in 2007 but has since urged Congress to reject it. He won plaudits from RedState's Erick Erickson for apologizing for his prior cap-and-trade support in the first Republican presidential debate, held last week in South Carolina.
Mitt Romney has incorporated President Obama's support for cap-and-trade into fundraising pitches, but in 2005 Romney supported an early emissions-capping system -- a regional agreement that would require Northeastern states to cut power-plant emissions by 2020.
Politifact deemed Sarah Palin to have flip-flopped on cap-and-trade, but it's a bit more complicated -- she began to supported it as McCain's runningmate. VP candidates generally adopt the presidential candidate's platform when tapped to join a ticket, though Palin continued to differ with McCain on other matters.
Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, told Frontline in 2007 that "I think if you have mandatory carbon caps combined with a trading system, much like we did with sulfur, and if you have a tax-incentive program for investing in the solutions, that there's a package there that's very, very good. And frankly, it's something I would strongly support." And he cut a TV ad with then-speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2008 calling for action on climate change. Since then, he's campaigned against it.
Des this mean none of these candidates can win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination?
Probably not, and for this simple reason: There's no one around to criticize them. Cap-and-trade flip-flops could pave the way for a second-tier candidate like Herman Cain or former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), but, with so much of the top tier having held the same stances just a few years ago, climate flip-flops are actually the norm in the Republican field. None of these candidates risks getting hammered on cap-and-trade by a gang of substantial and threatening rivals, because no such gang exists.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels
Well fortunately for Daniels, he was ahead of the curve on cap-and-trade. On March 15, 2009, a column appeared in the Wall Street Journal in which he criticized the bill. Here are some snippets from the essay:
This week Congress is set to release the details of the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act, a bill that purports to combat global warming by setting strict limits on carbon emissions. I'm not a candidate for any office -- now or ever again -- and I've approached the "climate change" debate with an open-mind. But it's clear to me that the nation, and in particular Indiana, my home state, will be terribly disserved by this cap-and-trade policy on the verge of passage in the House.However, Governor Daniels position on global warming might not be as popular as one might believe from the Wall Street Journal article. According to a March 18, 2011 article in American Thinker entitled "The Case Against Mitch Daniels," the conservative magazine cited as a a reason to not support Daniels for President is that he "believes in anthropogenic [man-made] global warming and that humanity needs to act urgently to stop it." The source for this conclusion is not clear as it is not sourced.
The largest scientific and economic questions are being addressed by others, so I will confine myself to reporting about how all this looks from the receiving end of the taxes, restrictions and mandates Congress is now proposing.
The Waxman-Markey legislation would more than double electricity bills in Indiana. Years of reform in taxation, regulation and infrastructure-building would be largely erased at a stroke. In recent years, Indiana has led the nation in capturing international investment, repatriating dollars spent on foreign goods or oil and employing Americans with them. Waxman-Markey seems designed to reverse that flow. "Closed: Gone to China" signs would cover Indiana's stores and factories.
And for what? No honest estimate pretends to suggest that a U.S. cap-and-trade regime will move the world's thermometer by so much as a tenth of a degree a half century from now. My fellow citizens are being ordered to accept impoverishment for a policy that won't save a single polar bear.
No one in Indiana is arguing for the status quo: Hoosiers have been eager to pursue a new energy future. We rocketed from nowhere to national leadership in biofuels production in the last four years. We were the No. 1 state in the growth of wind power in 2008. And we have embarked on an aggressive energy-conservation program, indubitably the most cost-effective means of limiting CO2.
Most importantly, we are out to be the world leader in making clean coal -- including the potential for carbon capture and sequestration. The world's first commercial-scale clean coal power plant is under construction in our state, and the first modern coal-to-natural gas plant is coming right behind it. We eagerly accept the responsibility to develop alternatives to the punitive, inequitable taxation of cap and trade.
Our president has commendably committed himself to "government that works." But his imperial climate-change policy is government that cannot work, and we humble colonials out here in the provinces have no choice but to petition for relief from the Crown's impositions.
The reason so many Republicans elected officials are caught on the wrong side of this issue is nothing more than intellectual peer pressure. For years, we heard the mantra....that all the smart scientists had gotten together and all agreed that the Earth was dramatically warming and we needed to take dramatic action or the Earth would face a calamity. Anyone who questioned this "scientific consensus" was labeled as ignorant. You weren't even allowed to debate the issue because we were told the debate was over. Quite frankly, smart guys like Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and perhaps Mitch Daniels, probably accepted the global warming theory as fact, because they did not want their intellect questioned.
Now though several scientists have publicly challenged the global warming theory. Supporters of the theory were caught discussing how to frame and edit the scientific evidence to support their political agenda in emails. Public opinion has dramatically shifted. Now the political intelligentsia, at least those wearing Republican stripes, find themselves on the wrong side of the issue. Global warming is heading to the scrap heap of history to join that other scary theory I remember growing up, global cooling. The political debate is over. You lost, Al Gore.