Mitt Romney's Climate Change Views Evolving

PHOTO: In this photo taken Dec. 1, 2014, Mitt Romney smiles on the field before an NFL football game between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo
In this photo taken Dec. 1, 2014, Mitt Romney smiles on the field before an NFL football game between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins in East Rutherford, N.J.

Mitt Romney’s tone on climate change appear to be evolving as he considers a third presidential run -- something that was evident during a speech he made Wednesday night in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“I'm one of those Republicans who thinks we are getting warmer and that we contribute to that,” he said, according to the Associated Press, adding that federal leaders need to do more to stem the problem.

This declaration, made at an investment management conference in Utah on Wednesday night, is a change in tone for Romney as he emphasized possible human influence on climate change and world leaders’ ability to take action to stop it.

When he talked about climate change on the 2012 campaign trail, Romney usually acknowledged that human activity might have something to do with the shifts in global weather patterns, but typically hedged his statements by saying he didn’t know the extent to which man’s actions contribute to climate change.

“I believe that climate change is occurring. ... I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor. I am uncertain how much of the warming, however, is attributable to factors out of our control,” Romney wrote in his book No Apology, published in 2010.

The following year, he made a similar statement: "I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that. I don’t know how much our contribution is to that,” he said at a campaign stop in Manchester, New Hampshire, a day after he announced he was running for president.

Back in 2012, Romney also pivoted on climate change questions by making them all about economic effects rather than environmental ones. He told an audience at an October 2011 private fundraiser in Pittsburgh, “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.”

In that same speech, he added that he believed America should focus on the economic benefits of added energy exploration, including drilling, within the United States.

“Let’s grant the permits to let the drillers start drilling and provide those resources in America. We will create jobs here and make sure that we have the energy independence from the cartels that’s good for our foreign policy, for our national security, and for our economy,” he said.