Santorum Misrepresents Climate Science. Again.

Rick Santorum was asked about climate change recently, while campaigning in New Hampshire. The video of his response, as well as the transcript, can be found here.

Suffice it to say that while Santorum sounds thoughtful and rational in his response, in fact he gravely misrepresents scientific knowledge and understanding.

Let's turn to the tape.

Santorum starts off well enough:

The question is on how do I get my policies with climate change science.

I get asked this question a lot, and you look at the data and you can see some change in the climate.

But then again, pick a point in history where you haven’t seen a change in the climate.

The climate does change.

The question is, what is causing the climate to change.

And I think most scientists, in fact, I assume all scientists would agree there are a variety of factors that cause the climate change.

I don’t think any scientist in the world would suggest there isn’t a variety of factors, and I think the vast majority of scientists would say there’s probably a hundred factors that cause the climate to change.

A hundred factors? Well, there are a lot of factors that can influence the climate, that's for sure. So far, Santorum is pretty accurately representing climate science. But he continues:

And so why have we decided that this one particular factor, carbon dioxide, is in fact that tip of the tail that wags the entire dog.

Why from a scientific point of view do we make the assertion that this is in fact what is the case when there is a whole lot of other factors out there that could be affecting it?

So, that’s the question.

Notice the trick here. Up until this point, Santorum is accurately reflecting what scientists think. But now he isn't any more. Now he's contradicting them.

It's true there are lots of factors that can influence climate. But the chief factor that, scientists agree, is currently driving global warming is human induced greenhouse gas emissions.

Why does Santorum trust scientists to determine which different factors influence the climate, but not to determine the relative importance of these factors? Why would scientists be more trustworthy on one score than the other?

In my view, you either trust scientists or you don't. You don't get to pick and choose which parts of the scientific consensus you accept, and which part you don't. The whole point of trusting scientists is that they’re better than non-scientists at figuring out what findings can be reliably believed.

And the reality is that scientists both agree that many factors influence the global climate, and think global warming is mostly driven by human activities. There's no contradiction here—except perhaps in Santorum's willingness to head one scientific conclusion but not another.

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore)


Haven’t been following this too closely as I’ve been on holidays for a few weeks, but isn’t Santorum out of the race now? From the bits I have followed, its all a bit confusing. Romney beats Santorum, but some sites say it was rigged & the GOP fudged the vote so that Romney would win.

Meanwhile Ron Paul seems to be getting more votes across the board than all of them combined, yet no one wants to talk about him. Strange days. Then Obama pulls out one of RP’s biggest draw cards, cut the military by hundreds of billions. Which Obama was talking about in 2008 anyway.

The point is moot , as any GOP nominee is bad for the planet now that Hunstman is out.

Obama creating 200k jobs in December & dropping the unemployment rate to the lowest in 3 years will be a thorn in the side of the GOP. Nearly all of that , the private sector:

Meanwhile, the biggest conversation killer around the evidence immune denier table could be the fact that China, the worlds largest emitter of CO2 is going to implement a carbon tax.

It might be small, but it’s happening within a couple of years. Contrasted with Australia’s recent effort of taking 5 years just to get it legislated & another year to put it in place. This now puts considerable pressure on the USA & Canada to act, while the rest of the world is acting & accepting the science. Deniers are increasingly being backed into a corner, with tin foil hats, fossil fuel science & conspiracies that involve nearly all the worlds governments & 100% of the worlds scientific institutions. Ahh, yeah right.



Romney and Santorum were virtually tied in Iowa (with Romney winning by a hanful of votes) both had about 25% of the votes. Which is why, imo, Desmog is attacking Santorum recently, because he has risen in the polls.

Ron Paul finished a respectable 3rd place with 21% of the vote.

None of these 3 candidates have the kind of enviromental record that the greens are seeking with Santorum, perhaps, being the least ‘green’. Hense the attacks here.

Not sure if you’re aware of the system of deciding a candidate for the presidency or not. But it’s way early in the proces. These early state caucuses are just to thin out the crowd, so to speak.


Ok, maybe I’m not up to speed as much with American politics, but wasn’t Hunstman the only one who believed in AGW science? With him gone, it doesn’t really matter who wins the GOP nomination, as they are all opposed to AGW science.

“Ron Paul finished a respectable 3rd place with 21% of the vote.”

On many websites I have come across over the past 6 months or so, it has him leading in many polls. Not that this is any good for the environment, but I find him more intelligent & likable than the other muppets.

“Not sure if you’re aware of the system of deciding a candidate for the presidency or not.”

It appears not.


Rick Santorum isn’t misrepresenting climate science – he’s merely questioning the IPCC’s political advocates, who have long ago abandoned science in any meaningful sense, yet continue to masquerade as “scientists”, and who’s unproven and unprovable AGW hypothesis you continually present as though it were inerrant religious doctrine.

It’s quite clear the “consensus” you claim exists, yet doesn’t, is completely manufactured.  Never mind the fact that science has nothing to do with “consensus”, even if such “consensus” actually existed.

No wonder political ideologues like Mooney are down to mewling about whether Ronald Reagan spent Christmas at the White House.  (For the record, the Reagans spent 7 of 8 Christmases at the White House, and only the last one at their private home in L.A.  Compare that to the endless multi-million dollar vacations of Michele Antoinette and King Putt.)

Santorum upset the gay community to the extent you can see from the first hit when you google his name. (Not for the squeamish!)  I don’t know how they did it, but I wonder how effective it would be to do something similar with all these Republican candidates, except this time linking them to this site, or the IPCC?