Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jon Huntsman: Climate change is an international issue

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman discussed climate change as a global issue during a November 17, 2011 appearance on New Hampshire Public Radio's The Exchange, a popular call in show hosted by Laura Knoy.

Huntsman's comments came in response to a question posed by a voter in Dover, NH:

Voter: You just mentioned, actually, the concept that the complete cost of fuels, for example gasoline. And you know, I was down at your energy policy speech at UNH a few weeks ago and you managed to get through the entire talk without mentioning the words climate change.
I’m wondering to what degree climate change science would inform you policymaking and to what extent we need to incorporate those costs when we think about things like even natural gas, which is still a fossil fuel. It’s still emitting a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Laura Knoy: So the environmental costs should be brought into this as well…
Jon Huntsman: Natural gas is a whole lot better in terms of how it leaves the environment and the air.
Laura Knoy: Better than coal and petroleum…
Jon Huntsman: Absolutely.
And so, are we moving in the right direction and are making a contribution to the overall climate change discussion? Absolutely, you’re better off by doing that than you are just staying where we are today.
The bigger issue with climate change is, you know we need to recognize that increasingly this is a global issue.
We can do things unilaterally and kind of hobble our job creators and economy when we need to kind of get back on our feet again without realizing and understanding that this is an international issue.
And you’ve got the largest emitter in China and many behind it like India who are not reading from the same playbook 
What I would like to do is make sure that the developed countries like China and India are basically reading the same science.
Laura Knoy: That was the argument against the Kyoto accord years back, that India and China needed to jump in first, and why should we move and hobble ourselves…
I wonder about the moral argument though Governor.
If climate change is a problem, shouldn’t we be focusing on ourselves?
You know, alright, we’ll take care of them later, whatever, but, you know, clean up your own house before can tell other people to clean up theirs.
Jon Huntsman: You know, when the Kyoto discussions were going on China was in a much different position. Now they are the #1 emitter in the world.
Laura Knoy: Well, and you would know Ambassador Jon Huntsman…
Jon Huntsman: I’ve lived there, the most polluted city in the world. That’s traditional pollutants we had to deal with. But you wake up some mornings and you can’t even see across the street.
But the emissions go right over the Pacific Ocean, a percentage of them, and they land on our doorstep in California and of course they blow across, in part, across our nation.
We deal with the downstream implications.
So I say, you’ve got to realize first and foremost it’s an international issue. And if it is an international issue we’ve got to be reading from the same body of science, the same text that allows us to understand the implications of emissions and therefore what the policy tools are that will allow us together to deal with that.
We’re not there yet today, so I say as that, you know, moves forward, what do we do in the meantime. And I can’t think of a more important step than moving this economy more towards natural gas use. 
Jon Huntsman also answered questions about energy efficiency and renewable energy. Complete audio of the program is available on

Photo by Gage Skidmore

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