(WASHINGTON) -- Mitt Romney may be the GOP presidential candidate that is most often criticized for flip-flopping, but as Newt Gingrich rises to challenge him at the top of the polls, the former House speaker may also be giving him a run for his money in claims of inconsistency.
When it comes to global warming, Gingrich’s position seems to have changed faster than the climate.
“I don’t know if he’s just being opportunistic or of he’s had a real change of heart, but it is a bit disconcerting,” said Jim DiPeso, the policy director for Republicans for Environmental Protection.
In the more than 30 years since Gingrich was first elected to the House, he has said both that there is sufficient evidence to prove the climate is changing, and also that there is no conclusive proof. He supported a cap-and-trade program to limit carbon emissions and then later testified against it before a Congressional committee.
While in the House, Gingrich co-sponsored a bill that said climate change was “resulting from human activities,” but he later said he did not know if humans were to blame.
“There is no compelling evidence on either side to either rule it out or rule in it,” Gingrich’s spokesman R.C. Hammond said of the candidate’s position on global warming and the impact of man-made pollution. “But at the end of the day he’s somebody who does care about the environment.”
DiPeso said the Republican “orthodox” position on climate change is that “you can’t deal with this issue because it will kill the economy.”
“It’s politically dangerous for prominent Republicans to acknowledge climate change is real and that human activity plays a prominent role,” he said. ”It could be that Gingrich is just trying to play a political game and stick with the political orthodoxy to keep himself from being vulnerable to attacks.”
DiPeso added, “It’s not the first time he’s done that and it’s probably not going to be the last.”
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