Mitt Romney Has Been Talking a Lot About Climate Change Lately

The potential presidential contender says he's "one of those Republicans" who believes climate change is real.

Mitt Romney (National Journal)

Mitt Romney wants the next U.S. president to tackle global warming.

As he mulls yet another presidential run, Romney is sketching a vision of what his priorities might be if he were to hit the 2016 trail—including global warming, an issue that doesn't necessarily appeal to GOP primary voters.

The former Massachusetts governor affirmed his belief that man-made climate change is real in a series of public appearances this week and highlighted global warming as a key challenge that the next president will need to address.

"I'm one of those Republicans who thinks we are getting warmer and that we contribute to that," Romney said at an event on Wednesday in Salt Lake City.

Romney added that "real leadership" is needed to rein in air pollution created from coal-fired power generation.

He took a similar tack earlier while speaking at an event Monday in California where he "said poverty, education, and climate change are among the major issues the next U.S. president must play a leading role in solving," the The Des Moines Register reported.

Romney has staked out a variety of positions on Earth's rising temperatures in recent years, appearing to flip-flop at times.

Before stepping into the ring for the 2012 presidential election, Romney wrote that "climate change is occurring" and that "human activity is a contributing factor" in his book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness.

But he changed his tune in the run-up to the election.

When asked about his position on man-made climate change on the campaign trail in the fall of 2011, Romney backtracked. "We don't know what's causing climate change on this planet," he said.

At the same event, Romney called for the U.S. to accelerate fossil-fuel production and voiced opposition to policy aimed at clamping down on emissions.

"The idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us," Romney said, adding: "Let's aggressively develop our oil, our gas, our coal, our nuclear power."

Romney's recent climate comments suggest that if he sets his sights on the White House in 2016, he might take a different approach when it comes to energy and environmental policy.

His assertion that climate change is real and that humans are creating a problem also puts him at odds with many Republicans on Capitol Hill.

On Wednesday, all but five Senate Republicans rejected the idea that human activity "significantly contributes" to climate change.