We flipped a coin before the debate to see who goes first. My first question is for Mitt 1.
Q. Sir, global warming is considered by mainstream scientists to be one of the critical issues on the planet insofar as its potential negative impact on the future of the human race. If you are elected president what are your plans, if any, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
A. As the governor of Massachusetts I pushed a program to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, pushed to close old coal-fired power plants and embraced wind and solar power. I agree that this is one of the most important issues for our present generation, not only for the United States, but the world. I worry a great deal about climate-driven sea-level rise in poor countries like Bangladesh and the potential impact that global warming may have on the people of the world.
Q. Mitt 2. Do you share the same views as Mitt 1?
A. No, absolutely not. My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet.
Q. Mitt 1, recent reports from the International Energy Agency reveal an alarming one-year increase in global greenhouse gas emissions, largely because of increasing coal use around the world. As president, will you have a plan to reduce the use of coal in the United States?
A. Yes, I will. Coal-fired power plants kill people. Keeping global temperatures below a dangerous threshold is still within reach if nations aggressively reduce fossil-fuel consumption while nurturing low-carbon alternatives. I will see that the United States leads the world by setting an example in developing alternative sources of energy. Such a program will not only reduce harmful emissions, but will create new jobs and technologies as the use of new sources of energy proliferate.
Q. Mitt 2, the same questions, sir.
A. Mainstream science is definitely wrong on this issue and humans have nothing to do with global warming. I stand before you as a champion of oil and other fossil fuels. Federal efforts to develop cleaner energy sources are a waste of time and money and and the Environmental Protection Agency, with all its rules and regulations, is an agency run amok. The E.P.A. has gotten completely out of control for a very simple reason. It is a tool in the hands of the president to crush the private enterprise system, to crush our ability to have energy whether it’s oil, gas, coal or nuclear. I will give serious thought to shutting down this agency when I am president because, in my opinion, all it does is harm the coal and oil industries. President Obama has made it harder to get coal out of the ground with all his fancy policies and regulations. Or, as I like to say, “You can’t drive a car with a windmill on it, but you can drive a car with a dog strapped on top.”
Q. Mitt 1, do you think the EPA should be shut down?
A. No, absolutely not. The clean water and clean air laws the E.P.A. is enforcing were passed by bipartisan majorities four decades ago for the express purpose of protecting Americans’ health and the environment.
Q. Thank you Mitt 1 and Mitt 2. These are all the questions on this topic. We shall turn to other topics in the next series of question.