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 February 22, 2012
Rick Santorum slams Obama's "phoney climate theology"

 The prospect of US climate change policy and environmental regulations being completely dismantled if Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum wins this autumn's election was again underlined this week, when he launched a fresh attack on President Obama's efforts to tackle rising global temperatures.

Santorum was this week asked to clarify a claim he made on Saturday that President Obama was following "some phony ideal, some phoney theology... not a theology based on the Bible".

The right-wing candidate for the Republican nomination dismissed suggestions he was raising fresh questions about Obama's religious faith, insisting he was talking about the President's acceptance of climate science and the existence of manmade global warming.

"I was talking about the radical environmentalists," he told a CBS Sunday talk show. "This idea that man is here to serve the Earth, as opposed to husband its resources and being good stewards of the Earth, and I think that is a phoney ideal."

Later in the week Santorum then accused his main Republican rival Mitt Romney of also "falling prey to the rhetoric of the environmental left" because he imposed a statewide cap on emissions when governor of Massachusetts.

He suggested Romney had "bought into the radical left's junk science" for acknowledging efforts to tackle climate change could be good for businesses.

Santorum maintained he would support fossil fuel industries if elected, including opening the tundra of the North Slope of Alaska for drilling, increasing exploration for natural gas, and approving the controversial Keystone Pipeline which Obama rejected.

Santorum's speeches have beeen subjected to increasing scrutiny since he won three state contests for the primary elections two weeks ago. The former Pennsylvania Senator is now hoping to next week win the key states of Arizona and Michigan, securing his position as the new frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

The latest poll by Gallup shows Santorum has gained his biggest lead yet in the primary race, putting him ahead of Romney by 36 per cent to 26 per cent, with Newt Gingrich trailing on 13 per cent and Ron Paul on 11 per cent.

However, in a separate USA Today/Gallup survey asking all Americans which of the two candidates would have the best chance of beating Obama in November, 54 per cent named Romney and just 29 per cent chose Santorum.

Speaking again on Monday, Santorum did not repeat his original accusation that Obama was following a phoney theology, but he insisted that climate science was in fact a "political science".

He also claimed Obama would be unable to deliver on a pledge made on Saturday to boost manufacturing, arguing American industry had become less competitive because of environmental taxes and regulations.

"Time and time this President has crushed American industry by doing the bidding of his cronies in Big Labor and adhering to the agenda of the radical environmental left," he said.

"In fact, President Obama has effectively placed a boot on the neck of American industry with his environmental regulations and taxes that make us less competitive with the rest of the world."

The latest comments again confirm that regardless of who wins the Republican nomination environmental policy will be a key battleground in this year's election with all the GOP candidates promising a major roll-back of green regulations and incentive schemes.