The Environmental Divide: GOP Candidates Spar Over Climate Change

Rick Perry claims it is unproved, Jon Huntsman supported carbon regulations.

ByABC News
August 19, 2011, 4:42 PM

Aug. 20, 2011 -- In the week since Texas Gov. Rick Perry launched his bid for the White House, he has exploded onto the national scene, firing off provocative comments, touting his "Texas miracle" and drawing shots from his fellow GOP candidates.

The latest episode of candidate-on-candidate banter came this week after the increasingly-vocal Jon Huntsman shot back at Perry for comments the he made Wednesday that discounted global warming as a "scientific theory that has not been proven."

Huntsman, who has supported emissions regulations to stave off global warming, took a jab at Perry via twitter, saying, "To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy."

Despite their shared party affiliation, Huntsman and Perry stand on starkly different sides of the climate debate.

As the governor of Utah, Huntsman pushed for cap-and-trade policies to limit carbon emissions, even appearing in a 2007 Environmental Defense Action Fund television ad urging Congress to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Perry, on the other hand, sued the Environmental Protection Agency for trying to regulate carbon emissions, regulations he said would amount to "sweeping mandates and draconian punishments, undoing decades of progress, painting entrepreneurs as selfish and destroying hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process."

"What distinguishes Rick Perry from Jon Huntsman is not whether humans are causing some global warming, but whether humans are causing significant global warming to where it is going to be a threat," said James Taylor, senior fellow for environment policy at the Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank.