Another Romney Flip Flop: More Pollution From Cars and Trucks

Another day, another flip flop. At Sunday’s Mike Huckabee-hosted presidential forum, Republican candidate Mitt Romney offered up yet another flip flop, this time on reducing global warming pollution from cars and trucks. He said that he would “get the EPA out of its effort to manage carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles and trucks.”

Back in 2004, then Governor Romney signed Massachusetts up to copy California in implementing carbon emissions standards for light duty vehicles. The car companies pretty much hated that because it created a dreaded “patchwork,” in which the standard would apply in about half of the states but not in the rest.

Luckily, the Obama administration stepped in. The President brokered a deal to come up with a single national standard to reduce carbon pollution, which the car companies, the states, unions, EPA, and environmental groups like NRDC could all agree on. He made it happen primarily through a rule issued by EPA, which reduces pollution, saves consumers money, and reduces confusion for industry. That program was so successful that last month, EPA proposed to extend and strengthen the program through 2025.

Back to Romney. Of course, no one likes a flip-flopper. But the truth is, sometimes it makes sense to change your mind. You get new information, like former climate-skeptic Richard Muller who came to his senses and realized the globe really is warming up. That’s what makes Romney’s latest flip flop so infuriating. Almost every bit of new information we have shows that the need to reduce global warming pollution is greater than ever and the dangers are worse than we previously thought.

And the rules that Romney once supported, but now decries, provide tremendous benefits. The new set of rules would save over 4 billion barrels of oil. Owners of new efficient vehicles would save up to $4,400 over the life of the vehicle. Since he doesn’t seem to have any problem with changing his positions, can we humbly suggest that the Governor just go ahead and switch back to the position that is good for industry, good for consumers and good for the planet?

Can We Give “Job-Killing Regulations” a Rest?

Politicians love to go for the easy applause line and lately, in Washington, that has meant decrying “job-killing regulations.”

Republican candidates for president have all gone for this crowd-pleaser.

  • Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has promised to “tear down the vast edifice of regulations the Obama administration has imposed on the economy.”
  • Texas Governor Rick Perry claims he would halt all regulations and impose a sunset so that they would automatically expire.
  • Herman Cain claims that eliminating regulations would provide “an immediate boost for our weakened economy.”

Even President Obama has at times appeared to buy-in to this notion, ordering every agency to review its existing regulations to eliminate burdens on business, even though such analysis would have been completed when the regulation was first written.

It may be a crowd-pleaser, but it turns out that it simply isn’t true that regulations kill jobs. The Washington Post talked with some of the country’s top economists and experts on the relationship between job creation and regulations. The conclusion?

“Overall impact on employment is minimal.”

The truth is that regulations can impact jobs but don’t have much effect when it comes to employment. That means that a particular regulation might reduce jobs in one industry but create them in another. For example, a clean air regulation might reduce jobs at a dirty coal-fired power plant and create new jobs at a clean-burning natural gas plant. But, looking at the big picture, employers report that only 0.3% of layoffs are due to “government regulations/intervention.” That’s small potatoes compared with the 25% of jobs lost due to reduced demand for products and services in our weak economy.

While they may not have a big impact on jobs, regulations do have a big impact in a lot of other areas, namely in protecting workers, the public and the environment. So, let’s put “job-killing regulations” to rest. If our politicians are looking for new descriptions, how about “life-saving, people-protecting, society-benefiting regulations”? It’s not so catchy, but it has the benefit of being true.

The Race That Matters

p>If you’ve been following the cable news cycle, you’ve seen the latest sensational headlines about the Republican presidential contest: Newt’s surge, Romney’s stagnant poll numbers, Cain’s reassessment of his campaign.  Amidst the news of the ups and downs of the horse race, you may be missing some of the most consequential news of our lifetimes.</p>
 
<p>Two sobering headlines truly deserve to drown out the political back and forth:</p>

<ul>

<li>The World Meteorological Organization is <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi%3Ff=/g/a/2011/11/29/bloomberg_articlesLVE4OA6S972H.DTL%23ixzz1fDAT2GCU" target="_blank">predicting that this will be the 10th warmest year on record</a>.</li>  

<li>Our planet is on <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/world-on-track-for-nearly-11-degree-temperature-rise-energy-expert-says/2011/11/28/gIQAi0lM6N_story.html%3Fhpid=z5" target="_blank">track to warm by 6 degrees Celsius</a> (10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, according to the International Energy Agency.</li>  

</ul>

<p>The first tells us the problem of global warming is undeniably real.  The second tells us the problem is worse than we thought.</p>
 
<p>The world’s scientists are practically shouting from the rooftops.  And yet, the candidates continue to play games, pretending that the science is iffy or that <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-205_162-57329738/new-climate-emails-leaked-ahead-of-talks/" target="_blank">a handful of hacked emails</a> somehow undermine the case for global warming.  The science is clear.  The thermometers don’t lie.  And we are running out of time.</p>
 
<p>We are facing a serious problem.  We need serious candidates.  They can start by acknowledging that temperatures are surging, that weak-kneed politicians have caused U.S. efforts to stagnate, and that it is time for candidates to reassess their positions.  We need a race to ramp up clean energy and ratchet down pollution.  This -- not the political ups and downs -- is the race that really matters.</p>

The Race That Matters

p>If you’ve been following the cable news cycle, you’ve seen the latest sensational headlines about the Republican presidential contest: Newt’s surge, Romney’s stagnant poll numbers, Cain’s reassessment of his campaign.  Amidst the news of the ups and downs of the horse race, you may be missing some of the most consequential news of our lifetimes.</p>
 
<p>Two sobering headlines truly deserve to drown out the political back and forth:</p>

<ul>

<li>The World Meteorological Organization is <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi%3Ff=/g/a/2011/11/29/bloomberg_articlesLVE4OA6S972H.DTL%23ixzz1fDAT2GCU" target="_blank">predicting that this will be the 10th warmest year on record</a>.</li>  

<li>Our planet is on <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/world-on-track-for-nearly-11-degree-temperature-rise-energy-expert-says/2011/11/28/gIQAi0lM6N_story.html%3Fhpid=z5" target="_blank">track to warm by 6 degrees Celsius</a> (10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, according to the International Energy Agency.</li>  

</ul>

<p>The first tells us the problem of global warming is undeniably real.  The second tells us the problem is worse than we thought.</p>
 
<p>The world’s scientists are practically shouting from the rooftops.  And yet, the candidates continue to play games, pretending that the science is iffy or that <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-205_162-57329738/new-climate-emails-leaked-ahead-of-talks/" target="_blank">a handful of hacked emails</a> somehow undermine the case for global warming.  The science is clear.  The thermometers don’t lie.  And we are running out of time.</p>
 
<p>We are facing a serious problem.  We need serious candidates.  They can start by acknowledging that temperatures are surging, that weak-kneed politicians have caused U.S. efforts to stagnate, and that it is time for candidates to reassess their positions.  We need a race to ramp up clean energy and ratchet down pollution.  This -- not the political ups and downs -- is the race that really matters.</p>

Diaries

Advertise Blogads