Pawlenty Gets "Full Flop" From Politifact For Climate Change Shift

11/25/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's shifting stance on climate change legislation was deemed a "full flop" by Politifact.

The GOP governor used climate change as a punch line in a speech to the Republican National Committee in July.

"Apparently, they're announcing that President Obama is making great progress on climate change," Pawlenty said. "He's turning the political climate of the country back to Republicans."

He also wrote a letter to Minnesota's Congressional delegation criticizing proposed cap and trade legislation and came out against the Midwest Governor's Climate Change initiative -- an effort he helped launch.

Politifact tracked the flip:

To track Pawlenty's evolution from treehugger to cap-and-trade skeptic, we need to turn the clock back to 2007. At the time, the Minnesota Legislature was debating the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007, which outlined the state's goals for greenhouse gas reductions. The bill required the state to reduce its emissions 15 percent by 2015 and 80 percent in 2050. It also endorsed the Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group, a panel charged with drafting a comprehensive greenhouse gas emission reduction plan to meet those goals. [...]

So, it was surprising to Morse and other Minnesota environmentalists when Pawlenty wrote a letter to the Minnesota delegation in Washington expressing his opposition to a bill authored by Reps. Henry Waxman and Edward Markey that would set up a national cap-and-trade program to lower carbon pollution by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050 -- only slightly more ambitious than Pawlenty's climate change goals for Minnesota.

Read the whole account of Pawlenty's transformation -- a change in perspective that might have something to do with a 2012 presidential run.

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