In 2012, Governor John Kasich said this at a Columbus, Ohio energy conference:
“I am a believer — my goodness I am a Republican — I happen to believe there is a problem with climate change. I don’t want to overreact to it, I can’t measure it all, but I respect the creation that the Lord has given us and I want to make sure we protect it,” Kasich said at a Columbus, Ohio, energy conference hosted by The Hill.
“But we can’t overreact to it and make things up, but it is something we have to recognize is a problem,” Kasich said.
Many have interpreted Kasich’s acknowledgment that man-made cause to global warming is an actual problem that exists. Among them, that then Wolfe family leftist rag called the Columbus Dispatch, which reported Kasich’s comments about global warming at a Ross County GOP fundraiser:
“This isn’t popular to always say, but I believe there is a problem with climates, climate change in the atmosphere,” Kasich told a Ross County Republican function on Thursday. “I believe it. I don’t know how much there is, but I also know the good Lord wants us to be good stewards of his creation. And so, at the end of the day, if we can find these breakthroughs to help us have a cleaner environment, I’m all for it.”
Fast forward to this weekend’s “Meet the Press,” where Governor Kasich, riding high on media praise (but still low in the polls) for its perception of him as a moderate alternative to the GOP field dominated by billionaire Donald Trump. Asked about a Time Magazine article, that, yes, actually compared Kasich to Pope Francis and whether he shared his views on climate change (something given his previous comments on the subject should have been a softball), Kasich instead said:
“I think that man absolutely affects the environment, but as to whether, what the impact is… the overall impact — I think that’s a legitimate debate . . . We don’t want to destroy people’s jobs, based on some theory that is not proven.” (emphasis added).
Of course, this is the classic “I’m not a scientist” excuse that conservatives have been using for awhile to justify their denial of the overwhelming science on climate change. But even worse Kasich goes on to take credit for how great things are at Lake Erie and how Ohio’s cut emissions by 30% from levels ten years ago. Those in the Toledo area who remember how the region went without drinkable water a few days ago last year and are watching growing algae blooms this summer with caution might have a different take on the Governor on the former. Those of you who remember that the latter is due to Governor Strickland’s renewable energy portfolio that Kasich has attempted to roll back might wonder how many things Strickland did that Kasich opposed can Kasich take credit as the basis for Kasich to run for President?
Kasich’s comments cause such a confusion in the press of whether he was a member of the climate science denier caucus, it forced Kasich’s campaign to hurriedly push to the press and on social media Kasich’s 2012 comments at the energy conference. The problem is a report from last month claims that John Kasich said, on camera, that he in no uncertain terms no longer believes in climate change:
“When a planted questioner asked about climate change, [Kasich] acknowledged her colleague recording it all on his iPhone. He looked straight into the camera to give his answer: He didn’t know if climate change was real.”
[UPDATE: Other press reports of the same event don’t show the same report and simply note Kasich highlighted his support of investing in research on “clean coal,” which is something we’ve been promising for centuries to the point many folks have concluded it is more a public relations science fiction myth than something on the verge of reality.]
Kasich was happy, for awhile, to present himself as someone who is concerned with global warming in that it got him attention in the Republican Party for being somewhat out of the norm for his party–someone who believes in science. But make no mistake, Kasich’s record shows no real concern with global warming given his freeze of our renewable energy standards. Kasich has long been the beneficiary of massive campaign donations from coal magnate and global warming denier Bob Murray. So looking at his record as what Kasich has done or failed to do (and not simply what has simply occurred in Ohio while he’s been Governor), Kasich hardly appears to be a Republican willing to do anything about climate change.
Pointing to John Kasich’s 2012 comments don’t seem to clarify his Meet the Press comments. In simply terms, the two things do not square together easily, but seem to stand in contrast instead. Kasich said, point blank, that the theory of global warming hasn’t been proven. Which is true because if it had been, it would be a scientific law, not theory. However, the overwhelming scientific evidence is that man made global warming exists and getting worse. So Kasich’s comments are more of a truism than an insightful commentary. Some would say it’s a convenient excuse to do nothing without outright saying you don’t believe in science.
However, for a guy whose entire political career has been an adherent to supply side economic theory, which even in conservative circles is still a minority school of thought in economics, Kasich’s burden of proof to act on climate change seem politically hypocritical. Both in Congress and as Ohio’s Governor, Kasich has not once hinted at any doubt about trickle down economic tax policy even though it’s only a theory–one that very few economists actually believe is factual and accurate.
Maybe instead of recycling older quotes, Kasich can do something as a presidential candidate he’s refused to do in Congress or as Ohio’s governor: he can propose an actual plan to deal with climate change. But that would take leadership, not the phony leadership that gets you praise for blasting Trump on Twitter than demurring on national news shows. Actual leadership. Stand for something, Governor. There’s a book on that, I believe.