Will Steger baffled by Tim Pawlenty's global warming flip flop

Arctic explorer Will Steger, who's seen more evidence of global warming up close and personal than most of us ever will outside the pages of National Geographic, was once really proud of the way Tim Pawlenty listened to science and evidence about climate change.

Now he's just "baffled" by Pawlenty's flip flop, and today's Mother Jones gives him ample room to air his concerns.

In 2006, the two began collaborating on public awareness campaigns. In 2007, Pawlenty signed the Next Generation Energy Act, and said:

"The nation has been asleep at the switch, but here in Minnesota we are kick-starting the future by increasing our nation-leading per capita renewable fuel use, boosting cost-saving measures and tackling greenhouse gas emissions."

The Strib caught the flavor of Pawlenty the tree hugger in 2007:

"The jury should be in on this issue - climate change is occurring," Pawlenty, the buttoned-down Republican, said at a news briefing, standing alongside Steger, the Arctic explorer and environmental activist, dressed casually in sweater. Pawlenty said he wants to "reach out with Will to convince the skeptics."

"I really believed that morally we were on the same level. We saw the moral imperative," Steger says in this month's Mother Jones. "And he understood, and back then, he chose to veer in another direction [from his party], which took a lot of guts. I have to respect that."

But by 2008, when Pawlenty thought he had a shot at being John McCain's running mate, his support for climate science began to melt like an Alaskan glacier.

Now, trying to appeal to the Republican climate change deniers in his own quest for the White House, Pawlenty has thrown settled climate science, people like Steger, under the bus.

He told Laura Ingrham, "As to climate change - or more specifically cap-and-trade - I've just come out and admitted and said, 'Look, it was a mistake. It was stupid. I'm not going to try to defend it.'"

He told The Economist that the earth might be warming, but that it is unclear "to what extent that is the result of natural causes."

Contrary to the evidence, "I think climate change occurs, but the bulk of it is natural, historic trends in the climate," Pawlenty told a Colorado radio host. "There is some suggestion that humans have caused some of it."

"I'm baffled by that," Steger tells Mother Jones. "But I think he's getting information from the wrong source and it's really too bad for our children. It's reckless."

Reckless it may be, but it just might win him the Republican nomination.

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >