Reality Check: Pawlenty On Climate Change

Tim Pawlenty, climate change skeptic?

Minnesota’s ex-governor is a former believer, whose previous views on global warming are melting faster than the polar ice caps.

Telling the Miami Herald Wednesday: “The weight of the evidence is that most of it, maybe all of it, is because of natural causes … to the extent there is some element of human behavior causing some of it — that’s what the scientific debate is about.”


It’s a major flip flop for the Governor, who once teamed up to fight global warming with the famed Arctic explorer Will Steger and who once proudly called Minnesota’s clean energy standards “the most aggressive in the nation.”

“It’s obviously a very substantial benefit to our environment,” said Pawlenty in 2007, when he announced he would lead a ‘clean energy’ initiative for the National Governors Association. “Lower emissions, cleaner emissions, and the positive impacts that will have on our environment.”

Here’s what you NEED TO KNOW: As governor, Pawlenty fought for — and won — strict greenhouse gas reductions:

— Requiring utilities to generate 25 percent of their energy from renewables.
— An 80 percent carbon reduction.
— A 15% reduction in fossil fuels.

And he tried to get Congress to act. Pawlenty even recorded a climate change radio ad for the Environmental Defense Action Fund with then-Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano.

“We don’t always share the same views,” said Pawlenty in the ad.

“But we both agree its time for congress to deal with the real threat of climate change,” Napolitano added.

“Cap greenhouse gas pollution now,” said Pawlenty.

Because of Pawlenty, Minnesota is developing a plan to adopt a ‘cap and trade’ energy policy here, even if he’s a “denier” now.

That’s Reality Check.

More from Pat Kessler
  • Jennifer Halvorson

    Oh Pawlenty is a weasel, he’d say anything to get elected to something. He’s the reason we have so many kids homeless in this state.

    • Gov. Flip Flop

      Good job Gov. FLIP FLOP. when in doubt ask yourself what would ROMNEY do.

  • john

    no Jennifer its because we don’t teach our kids as parents to keep them legs closed if you cant take care of your children, but liberals think the more kids we have they grow up to be voters for the liberals and that we can make other people take care for them till then. please stop this plague we have in this country . that’s why we are broke we pay people not to work and to have kids. STOP STOP this madness the next thing we will be working for the government and we wont get a pay check it will all go to the lazy.

    • Me

      That’s utterly ridiculous. “Don’t have children you can’t afford” is one of the most overused and dumbest things anyone has ever said. We raise our children for 18 years. Jobs change, incomes change, health can change. But I have to say, you take to a new level of stupidity by stating they’re all liberals trying to make liberals People don’t always follow in their parents political footsteps. Ronald Reagan and Ron Reagan ring a bell?

    • Think again

      Oh Johnny read you need to read this. Your theory is completely wrong according to Republicans.

    • Mike

      Gee John you must be confused. It’s Republicans who are in support of more children, even if it means denying a woman’s right to abortion! Every right wing radio program I listen to spends hours discussing how we as Americans need to breed more children and that mothers need to be at home. What planet did you come from?

    • The Crux of the Buscuit

      From the lips of a ‘familly values’ voter. Not suprising really.

    • Iconoclast

      What does this have to do with the article? Your views seem cut and pasted from right wing radio programing. Do you have a mind of your own?

      • Save the Tuna Fish

        Their ADD not only prevents them from completely reading an article but from actually focusing on submitting a respons…………oh look at the cute puppy.

  • Chubby

    I agree wholeheartedly. He is also why the poor always get get less and less help. Yet, he and his cronies got more and more of everything they want. His
    “no new taxes” was nothing but a lie too. Calling them fees instead of what they really were–taxes.

  • Chubby

    The state and country being broke can also be largely blamed on all the foreigners that the government is bringing over here too. We Americans
    work our tails off. If we ever need any help, we have to fight and nail for
    it. These foreingers come over, go apply for this, that and the other and get
    it with no problem. They never paid into the system like most of us
    Americans do either. If if weren’t for so many of them, our state and country
    would not be in the shape it is in.

  • Murph

    Tim has been breathing city smog for too long! He should buy a house in the country with a nice little algae covered pond.That’s where you get real oxygen instead of carbon dioxide and sulfer.Tim has been flying in the clouds and not paying attention to anything but his gr eat image! NOT!!!!! Conviction for violating the Minnesota Constitution is a red flag.It screams out beware of this self absorbed would be dictator.Proved his heartlessness to patients by taking away the Ensure drink that might help them heal faster and live longer.Sorry Tim,you failed the human test,a mere animalistic plastic man need not apply!

  • Redneck Purist

    The whole climate change fiasco is a crock. It’s purely fabricated cooked up data for one purpose. Grow government. Scare us all into letting them regulate us literally to death. And these kooks are shamelessly hawking carbon credits and making millions out of this big phoney scare. Nobody ever questions their bogus data, or they’ll be called some name and drummed out of the debate. And there have been so many major scandals of these liberal scientists (junk science) fabricating data to support their theory in the last two years,but no press coverage. Why should we believe a word of it? These are the same people who panicked us into raising the debt limit to avoid a credit downgrade, and now it’s happening anyway. WHAT IF THE LIBERALS THREW A CRISIS AND NOBODY CAME??? Life would go on just like before only better.

    • M B

      One report had some data that one scientist exaggerated and now suddenly the whole field is corrupt and defunct? Really, is that what you’re implying? Because it was one report and one scientist that the Republicans latched onto like super glue to try and make themselves feel better at night about their destruction of the planet via that “Unregulated business” you so seem to cherish. If one person can ruin a whole field, why are there still politicians in Washington? No answer? Thought not. It’s because not all of them are the same. Although I have to admit that politicians are like lawyers: Ninety-Nine percent give the other one percent a bad name.

      Look around you and have a memory just a little clearer than the syrup you drowned your waffles in this morning. Fifth hottest July on Record. The Highest dewpoint ever in MN. Massive storms, rainfalls and flooding. These things can only be achieved by large quantities of heat in the atmosphere, which evaporates more water, giving more fuel to storms.

      It will get worse and worse. The more energy you add to a system the more violent it gets. Someone once told me that the climate is like a pendulum of a clock: The more energy you put into it the more it swings, but still with the same period, so the swings are faster and more violent. The planet will go on, but us fragile little humans may not. We’ll see. Likely by the time we finally acknowledge it, it will be too late.

      The irony here is that even if the environmentalists are totally wrong, we’d STILL come out of it benefiting through a cleaner planet.

      • Redneck Purist

        Nice try. Let me ask you a few simple questions. Fifth hottest July on record and highest dewpoints???? How long long pray tell have scientists been keeping this data? How old is the earth? What would you consider a good data sample to accurately plot a supposed trend? Less than a hundred years of accurate data? THIS IS NOT SCIENCE. This is politics.

      • Iconoclast

        Don’t encourage the troll please. This one is bordering on a mental disorder.

        • Iconoclast

          (I’m referencing REDNECK PURIST)

          • Redneck Purist

            So Eco-no-class, just wondered if you cared to answer my questions, or were you just making the typical liberal scientific argument? (You’re dumb). Why don’t you make an argument like I did? Don’t have one? I can explain the lack of criteria and scientific method of the warmers so a second grader could understand it. I don’t even need to mention the warmers wild extrapolation on their itty-bitty data samples. If you weren’t closed minded like most liberals, I bet you could even understand what’s terribly wrong with climate change “science”. Anyway, go back to your global warming bomb shelter and hide under the bed. I’m going to the beach.

    • hard rains

      Explain why you think it’s a crock? Leaning on the Jurassic, etc, doesn’t affect our climate change, nor does it explain it. Assuming there is no climate change driven by emissions, does that mean we should continue to ignore cleaning up pollution? However, like it or not, there is climate change and if we can keep it from going into a runaway condition harmful to us, it appears that would be a good thing. You don’t have to agree however.

  • randax

    So he’s finally waking up to the reality that any global warming is largly due to natural causes.

    Can’t blame a guy for educating himself and getting smarter.

    • Iconoclast

      No, he realized the GOP base does not share the progressive views that he had so he changed his tune. His original views were right but he probably didn’t believe them anyway. He was just pandering to progressive Minnesotans. Climate change is a natural part of earths history and usually results in mass extinction. It’s not as if the earth has not been here before. The difference this time is the speed at which it is happening. That speed is due to constant world wide use carbon sources. People who study and have discovered this have no motive other than science. Deniers are motivated by the financial loss that change of habit would cause them. The ironic part is that people would pay for clean energy just like they pay for what they use now. It’s all about habit.

  • Linda O

    There goes Pat Kessler again – comparing comments four years ago with current statements. Science is one of the fastest evolving information gatherers. Of course, opinions with change!!!

    • Iconoclast

      No, the weasel T-paw is just playing to what ever group he needs support from. He’s always done this and he’s such a tool not even the GOP base is going to nominate him. He’s a glorified used car salesman. He’s human garbage.

  • fkafka

    Pat, you never bothered to actually find out *why* Pawlenty changed his stance – could it be that within the last few weeks NASA released climate data that indicates an increase of particles in the atmosphere has drastically reduced CO2 and that huge contributors are largely natural ; volcanoes, fires, etc. I’m going to start turning you off.

    • Murph

      I thought Tim changed his stance because of the politicians getting caught wide stancing in restrooms!Tim only signed on to the gay marriage pledge to cover his tracks.Besides with judge Gearin’s shoe up there he is somewhat limited as a sex toy!

  • SMC

    I’m not a huge Tim Paw fan but I don’t blame him for changing his opinion on the climate change hoax. Several scientists findings have been discredited and their political leanings were exposed. These scientists destroyed critical baseline data and claimed it was lost. The hockey stick theory that started all the panic was exposed as faulty data years ago. Recently we find out that the supposed plight of the polar bear is just another case of junk science and criminally sloppy research. The stories go on and on. Kessler once again shows his left leaning bias but probably thinks he is being fair. I wonder if he actually reads real news other than TV infotainment.



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