Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, assailed by Republicans for saying climate change is a scientific fact, appeared to alter his position by saying he doesn't think the issue merits substantial government action.
During a townhall meeting in Lebanon, New Hampshire, the former Massachusetts governor was asked whether he believed humans were contributing to temperatures creeping upwards. Romney responded that humans play some role, but that it's not clear what.
Do I think the world's getting hotter? Yeah, I don't know that but I think that it is, Romney said. I don't know if it's mostly caused by humans.
What I'm not willing to do is spend trillions of dollars on something I don't know the answer to, he added.
A Romney spokesman told Politico that the statement was consistent with Romney's past positions, pointing to a passage in his book No Apology in which Romney wrote that I believe that climate change is occurring but added I am uncertain how much of the warming, however, is attributable to man and how much is attributable to factors out of our control.
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The climate change issue has already divided the Republican field. Recently declared Texas Gov. Rick Perry has dismissed both climate change and evolution as unverified theories, and has signaled an reluctance to base policy on what he called politicized science. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman forcefully denounced that view, saying that the Republican Party is weakened when we find ourselves on the wrong side of science.
To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming, Huntsman said in a Tweet responding to Perry's remarks.