During an appearance on "Fox & Friends" on Tuesday morning, Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty acknowledged the reality of climate change, but expressed skepticism that humans contribute to the environmental process.
"There's always been climate change, but until recently people were worried as much about global cooling," he said when asked to define his position on the issue. "The reality of it is the science indicates that most of it, if not all of it, is caused by natural causes and as to the potential human contribution to that, there's a great scientific dispute about that very issue."
The former Minnesota governor also addressed his past support for cap-and-trade legislation on the show. When asked about critics taking aim at his shift in position on the issue, Pawlenty said that even he has "a problem" with his change in stance, noting that he's "denounced it" himself.
"I've said, 'Look, I've made a mistake," explained the GOP contender during an appearance on the "Laura Ingraham Show" earlier this year. "I think cap-and-trade would be a ham-fisted, unhelpful, damaging thing to the economy. ... It's misguided. I made the mistake. I admit it. I'm not trying to be cute about it. I just come out and tell you it was a mistake."
According to the non-partisan Politifact:
Back in 2007, Pawlenty was positioning himself as an environmental leader, pushing for aggressive reductions in greenhouse gases and a regional cap-and-trade plan.
Fast-forward to 2009, and he's writing letters to Washington calling a Democratic plan to curb climate change "overly bureaucratic, misguided" and "very burdensome on our economy."
Pawlenty grew his reputation as an environmental pioneer when he played a leading role in persuading members of the Midwest Governors Association to sign the Midwestern Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, an agreement that the states would develop a cap-and-trade mechanism to achieve greenhouse gas reductions in the area.
The list of Pawlenty's climate change achievements goes on, including the Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group, which he formed to study the impact of climate change and make recommendations for the state. You get the picture.
The good news for Pawlenty: as he's noted himself, he's not the only Republican presidential candidate who's flip-flopped on the issue of cap-and-trade.
Below, video of the presidential candidate's appearance on "Fox & Friends" on Tuesday.