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Reality Check: Pawlenty On Climate Change

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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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.”

That is NOT THE WHOLE STORY.

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.

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