Former Congressman and current Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is turning up the heat on the issue of man-made global warming, calling it “patently absurd,” a stance putting him at odds with perceived frontrunner Mitt Romney.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum calls man-made global warming ‘patently absurd.’

“I believe the Earth gets warmer and I also believe the Earth gets cooler, and I think history points out that it does that,” Santorum said on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show this afternoon.

“The idea that man – through the production of CO2 (carbon dioxide) which is a trace gas in the atmosphere, and the man-made part of that trace gas is itself a trace gas – is somehow responsible for climate change is, I think, patently absurd.”

On Friday in Manchester, N.H., Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, took the opposing view.

“I believe the world is getting warmer,” Romney told a crowd of about 200 at a town-hall meeting. “I can’t prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer and number two, I believe that humans contribute to that. I don’t know how much our contribution is to that ’cause I know there’s been – there have been periods of – of greater heat and – and warmth in the past, but I believe that we contribute to that, and so I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and the global warming that you’re seeing.”

Limbaugh responded to Romney’s remarks by saying, “Bye-bye nomination. Another one down.”

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Today, Santorum of Pennsylvania was adamant in his stance against man-made climate change, saying there were numerous factors that help regulate the temperature on the planet, specifically citing El Nino, La Nina, sunspots, and moisture in the air.

He said the political left uses the issue to its benefit no matter what the temperature is: “It’s really a beautifully concocted scheme because they know the Earth is going to cool and warm. And so, if it’s been on a warming trend for a while, [they say] ‘Let’s take advantage of that and say that we need the government to come in and regulate your life some more because it’s getting warmer.’

“Just like they did in the ’70s when it was getting cooler. They needed the government to come in and regulate your life because it’s getting cooler. It’s just an excuse for more government control of your life and I’ve never been for any scheme or even accepted the junk science between the whole narrative.”

Another possible Republican candidate for the White House in 2012 who thinks man-made climate change is likely for real is former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.

“I’m not a meteorologist,” Hunstman told Time Magazine. “All I know is 90 percent of the scientists say climate change is occurring. If 90 percent of the oncological community said something was causing cancer we’d listen to them. I respect science and the professionals behind the science so I tend to think it’s better left to the science community – though we can debate what that means for the energy and transportation sectors.”

Some candidates have been both hot and cold on climate change.

Former House Speaker and now 2012 GOP hopeful Newt Gingrich famously appeared with Democrat Nancy Pelosi in an ad where he said, “We do agree our country must take action to address climate change.”

But just last month in New Hampshire, Gingrich was singing a very different tune:

Remember, in the mid-1970s there was a cover of Newsweek and Time that says we’re in the age of a brand new glacial period and they had a cover of the Earth covered in ice. This is the 1970s. Now many of those scientists are still alive and they were absolutely convinced. I mean, if Al Gore were able to in the 1970s we would build huge furnaces to warm the planet against this inevitable coming Ice Age.

I’m not disputing or discrediting the National Academy of Sciences, I’m saying a topic large enough to change the behavior of the entire human race is a topic that is more than science and deserves public hearings with very tough minded public questions and we’ve had almost none of that on either side. You have the people over here saying it’s not true. You have the people over here saying, ‘Oh, it’s going to happen Thursday.’ You have almost nobody saying in a practical, calm way, ‘Let’s walk through the material and find out what the facts are.’

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is an admitted flip-flopper on the issue, having apologized at the first Republican debate for pushing cap-and-trade legislation to control greenhouse gases.

He said at the debate, “What I concluded subsequently is it is really a bad idea. It is ham-fisted. It is going to be harmful to the economy.”

In an interview with WHO Radio in April, Pawlenty said, “I think climate change occurs, but the bulk of it is natural historic trends in climate. There is some suggestion that humans have caused some of it, but the answer is not a government, top-down scheme.”

Businessman Herman Cain is among those who does not think man-made global warming is real, and told the Hill: “We have a path to energy independence in this country and it just baffles me as to why the leadership of either party in Congress or the White House doesn’t pursue it … . We simply need to remove the regulatory barriers and stop overreacting to the concerns of the environmentalists.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., agrees with Cain, and in April 2009, she took to the floor of the U.S. House to end the vilification of carbon dioxide:

“Carbon dioxide, Mr. Speaker, is a natural byproduct of nature,” Bachmann said. “Carbon dioxide is natural. It occurs in Earth. It is a part of the regular lifecycle of Earth. In fact, life on planet Earth can’t even exist without carbon dioxide. So necessary is it to human life, to animal life, to plant life, to the oceans, to the vegetation that’s on the Earth, to the, to the fowl that flies in the air, we need to have carbon dioxide as a part of the fundamental lifecycle of Earth.

“As a matter of fact, carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas. There isn’t one such study because carbon dioxide is not a harmful gas. It is a harmless gas.”

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