OK, this quiz isn’t devoted exclusively to Rick Santorum’s cockamamie views on the environment, but the former senator from Pennsylvania has pretty much owned the franchise on wacky comments ever since former Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann dropped out of the race and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin realized she could make more money giving speeches and appearing as a Fox News commentator than running for president.
That said, the remaining GOP candidates – former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul – have all expressed various attitudes about the environment over the years, as has incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama. Not surprisingly, a few have contradicted themselves or changed their positions.
The following quotes come from campaign speeches, candidate websites, books they’ve written and media interviews.
Identify the candidate who said:
1. "There is no such thing as global warming … It's just an excuse for more government control of your life and I've never been for any scheme or even accepted the junk science behind the whole narrative."
2. "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."
3. “There's a big difference between long-term climatology and the weather, and the fact is that there are many things that happen that change climates. The Gulf Stream quit 11,000 years ago for 600 years ... Nobody fully understands why it started again.”
4. “Fear is constantly generated by politicians to rally the support of the people. Environmentalists go back and forth, from warning about a coming ice age to arguing the grave dangers of global warming.”
5. “I don't speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world's getting warmer. I can't prove that, but 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, because I know that there have been periods of greater heat and warmth in the past but I believe we contribute to that. And so I think it's important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and the global warming that you're seeing.”
6. “The Left has this passion for using whatever issue they can find as an excuse to eliminate capitalism, to eliminate markets, to eliminate personal choice, to demand a lower standard of living. I think that's all, frankly, irrational. There's no reason you can't have a very high civilization with a terrifically good quality of life and do so with remarkably little environmental damage, but it requires different strategies.”
7. “The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don't have to choose between our environment and our economy.”
8. “The freer the market is and the more respect you have for private property, the better the environment is protected … The more socialized a system is, the worse the property is, and the worse the environment is.”
9. “I believe the earth gets warmer, and I also believe the earth gets cooler, and I think history points out that it does that and that the idea that man through the production of CO2 which is a trace gas in the atmosphere and the manmade part of that trace gas is itself a trace gas is somehow responsible for climate change is, I think, just patently absurd when you consider all of the other factors, El Nino, La Nina, sunspots, you know, moisture in the air. There's a variety of factors that contribute to the earth warming and cooling, and to me this is an opportunity for the left to create – it's a beautifully concocted scheme because they know that the earth is gonna cool and warm. It's been on a warming trend so they said, ‘Oh, let's take advantage of that and say that we need the government to come in and regulate your life some more because it's getting warmer,’ just like they did in the ’70s when it was getting cool, they needed the government to come in and regulate your life because it's getting cooler. It's just an excuse for more government control of your life, and I've never been for any scheme or even accepted the junk science behind the whole narrative.”
10. “From reducing mercury and other toxic air pollution from outdated power plants to doubling the fuel efficiency of our cars and trucks, the historic steps we've taken will save tens of thousands of lives each year, remove over a billion tons of pollution from our air, and produce hundreds of billions of dollars in benefits for the American people. At the same time, I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover. With that in mind, and after careful consideration, I have requested that Administrator Jackson withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards at this time.”
11. "We were put on this Earth as creatures of God to have dominion over the Earth, to use it wisely and steward it wisely, but for our benefit, not for the Earth's benefit."
12. "If the choice is between dirty power plants or protecting the health of the people . . . I will always come down on the side of public health. I will not protect jobs that kill people. And that (coal-fired power) plant kills people.”
13. President Obama and his allies want to frighten people about new oil-exploration technologies (by) preying on the Northeast, saying, ‘Look what’s going to happen. Ooh, all this bad stuff’s going to happen, we don’t know all these chemicals and all this stuff.’ Let me tell you what’s going to happen: Nothing’s going to happen, except they will use this to raise money for the radical environmental groups so they can go out and continue to try to purvey their reign of environmental terror on the United States of America.”
14. “Unfortunately, some in the Republican Party are embracing the radical environmental ideas of the liberal left … I found that thoughtful environmentalism need not be anti-growth and anti-jobs.”
15. “The core problem is that the human race, for 400 years, has been using science and technology and entrepreneurship to create greater wealth, greater opportunities and more capacity to have a decent world. We now are trapped in this cycle where if it's not regulatory, bureaucratic and high tax, it doesn't count. I would like to see us go to a real market in which we accelerate the incentive to get rid of carbon.”
16. “The environment is better protected under private property rights ... We as property owners can't violate our neighbors' property. We can't pollute their air or their water. We can't dump our garbage on their property.”
17. “The threat from climate change is serious, it is urgent, and it is growing. Our generation’s response to this challenge will be judged by history, for if we fail to meet it – boldly, swiftly, and together – we risk consigning future generations to an irreversible catastrophe.”
18. “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 man and how much is attributable to factors out of our control."
19. The country should “create a $1-billion prize for the first affordable car to get 500 miles per gallon of gasoline and be manufacturable at a price of $30,000 or less per car with reliability and performance comparable to a gasoline powered car … A second $2-billion prize should be offered for a car getting 1,000 miles to the gallon of gasoline.”
20. “I do not support radical feel-good policies like a unilateral U.S. cap-and-trade mandate. Such policies would have little effect on climate but could cripple economic growth with devastating results for people across the planet.”
Scoring: It doesn’t matter how many answers you got right or wrong; we’re all losers.