Huntsman: On second thought, I'm kinda sorta undecided about global warming

Dude, he’s trying. He’s reaching out.

Actually, he’s not saying he’s agnostic about the issue — clearly he thinks warming is going on — merely that he thinks we haven’t quite yet reached the point where it’s okay to call this a scientific fact and move on from debating whether it’s happening and, if so, what’s driving it. It’s a soft pander, in other words, aimed at showing the base that (a) he respects their opinion even if he doesn’t agree with it and (b) he’s not going to push any regulatory solutions unless and until other major emitters like China sign on to a multilateral scheme.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman clarified his position on how policymakers should deal with climate change. In a speech Tuesday at The Heritage Foundation he said, “There’s not enough information right now to be able to formulate policies.”

Even if there were a consensus that there is global warming, and it’s man-made, then the United States might still choose not to take unilateral action, he added.

Premature political action, he noted, could jeopardize economic recovery for a potentially ineffectual attempt to tackle the issue. “The scientific community owes us more,” Huntsman, also a former U.S. ambassador to China, told a group assembled for the weekly Bloggers Briefing at Heritage.

Absent such information, Huntsman said he would not “unilaterally disarm our economy or our job creators.”

Here’s the video from today’s Heritage event. Skip ahead to 35:00 for the first exchange on climate change and then to 51:30 when someone asks whether he’s flip-flopping. His answer: No, not really — but, because the Climategate e-mails have raised fresh doubts about the integrity of the science, it’s perfectly acceptable to continue to press scientists to resolve questions about the data. That’s a clever play, simultaneously ducking the charge that he’s pandering by changing his position while he panders by referencing one of the base’s favorite weapons against warmists. Next stop: Double digits in New Hampshire?

Watch live streaming video from heritagefoundation at livestream.com