Climate Romnesia: I was there when Romney had a Climate Protection Plan

by Kert Davies

November 4, 2012

While Governor of Massachusetts, Romney was so concerned about climate change he ordered a Climate Protection Plan. What changed his mind?

This is a guest blog from Jane Bright of Healthlink, a local environmental health citizens group in Salem, Massachusetts.

Have you seen Romneys 50 page Climate Protection Plan?

No? Well theres a reason for that: He doesnt have one and he is hiding from the issue on the campaign trail. Romney mocked climate change at the Republican National Convention in August and his campaign website reads:

Mitt Romney will eliminate the regulations promulgated in pursuit of the Obama administrations costly and ineffective anti-carbon agenda.

So Romneys only current “climate plan is to attack the Obama EPA and its efforts to cut global warming pollution from power plants and other sources.

Just eight years ago, in 2004, Romney was so concerned about climate change that he implemented a comprehensive Massachusetts Climate Protection Plan.

Then-Governor Romney summarized the issue as effectively as any statement Ive read, evoking stewardship, science and risk.

The worlds dramatically shifting weather patterns are in part attributable to the often-heedless development patterns of the past. Our houses, schools, shops, industry, cars and transit vehicles all consume energy and generate emissions, which too often have taken a disturbing cumulative toll on our fragile and finite natural resources.

What the heck happened? He was threatened by the hard right. Rush Limbaugh and others said he was ‘unelectable’ if he was a climate change believer. In fact, after Romney addressed global warming as a reality in 2011, Rush said “bye bye nomination.”

For people in Massachusetts and other states this is serious. Superstorms like Hurricane Sandy, sea-level rise and other climate impacts have great consequences for the state.

For me, this is very personal. My picture and story were included in the state published report that launched the Massachusetts Climate Protection Plan.

During Romneys governorship, I was recognized by the state for my volunteer work to reduce air pollution in Massachusetts battling a coal fired power plant in Salem. Our effort supported an aggressive statewide commitment to address climate change and was part of a successful regional multi-state program using financial incentives to help power plants cut carbon emissions, a strong model for national climate protection strategies during the Bush years.

As soon as Romney decided to run for president, even while he was still Governor, he stopped supporting carbon pollution reductions and started ridiculing climate change as an issue. Climate Romesia?

Those of us who have watched him over the decades dont know who he is or what he stands for anymore. He clearly is not the 2004 version of Mitt Romney

I suspect Michelle Obama is right: The presidency doesnt change who you are, it reveals who you are.

What would a Romney presidency reveal? No one, probably including Romney, knows where he would stand on too many issues critical to the American economy, our environment and our safety. Those of us in Massachusetts concerned about the environment are shaking our heads. We only hope the rest of the nation is paying attention, too.

Jane Bright is on the board ofHealthLink, agrassroots citizen group dedicated to improving health byreducing or eliminating toxins and pollutantsfrom our environment through research, education and community action. She partnered with Governor Romneys administration to toughen emissions regulations in Massachusetts.


We Need Your Voice. Join Us!

Want to learn more about tax-deductible giving, donating stock and estate planning?

Visit Greenpeace Fund, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable entity created to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through research, the media and educational programs.