Is John Hickenlooper Flip-Flopping on Climate Change?

February 2010

Hickenlooper, John 2If you call Mayor John Hickenlooper's most recently stated views on climate change a flip-flop, he'll probably chuckle and shrug and tell you that his thinking has simply evolved. But because the Democrat has been running for governor and has lately been seen trying to woo those powerful oil-and-gas executives, he's being accused of backpedaling to advance his political career. The flap traces back to the National Western Mining Conference & Exhibition in Denver earlier this week, when Hickenlooper said, "I don't think that the scientific community has decided with certainty that climate change is as catastrophic as so many people think." Credit the Denver Daily News with the scoop, which has The Denver Post noting a "What the...?" tweet by Beth Conover, an environmental policy adviser to the mayor and author of How the West Was Warmed. Hickenlooper wrote in the book's forward that climate change in the Rockies is "one of the greatest challenges of our time." His reaction to Conover's tweet: "People are very passionate about this on both sides of the issue. Somehow I generally manage to get both sides upset." Last year, at a climate conference in Copenhagen, Hickenlooper called evidence of climate change "shocking." He now says science is "messy." So are politics. Hick's leading Republican opponent in the governor's race, Scott McInnis, can't resist a jab: "I will not as governor be making energy policies for Colorado in Copenhagen. That isn't going to happen."