Record editorial: On climate change, Mitt Romney has an opportunity to lead
Mitt Romney was not Summit County’s choice for the U.S. Senate.
Despite the former GOP presidential nominee’s ties to the Park City area, voters here instead backed his Democratic opponent, Jenny Wilson, in November. But on at least one important topic, Romney’s views broadly align with those of Summit County residents and we’ll be looking to him for leadership.
In contrast to many in his party, Romney is a firm believer in climate change. Separating him further from a significant number of his GOP colleagues, he also believes that humans are contributing to it. During last year’s campaign, he spoke repeatedly about the importance of combating climate change and the danger of failing to do so — including the potential for wildfires in the West to become even more severe and frequent in coming decades.
His willingness to speak up on the issue is refreshing compared to the standard Republican talking points, which disregard the scientific consensus on climate change and call into question both humanity’s role in our planet’s warming and our ability to do anything about it. Regardless of how they voted, Summit County residents urge Romney to use his clout to push his party forward.
That’s particularly important at a time when the current administration is rolling back EPA regulations and the president himself continues to express skepticism about climate science in the face of mounting evidence that catastrophic effects await if we don’t take immediate, sweeping action.
Already, Romney has shown he is unafraid to ruffle feathers on Capitol Hill. He spent the days before he took the oath of office Thursday in the national spotlight for authoring an opinion piece in the Washington Post taking President Trump to task for failing to rise “to the mantle of the office.” To Parkites hoping Romney, who memorably urged the GOP in 2016 not to nominate Trump for the Oval Office, will stand as a check on the president, it was encouraging start.
He’ll need to take that aggressive tone one step further on climate change and demand action. That would mean finding common ground with Democrats on climate legislation and, given the current state of the GOP, being one of the few from his party willing to do so. But with Republicans still holding just a slight majority in the Senate and Democrats now controlling the House, perhaps the possibility of enacting meaningful laws now exists.
If the possibility is to become a reality, Romney will have to play a leading role.