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Rick Santorum: ‘The dangers of carbon dioxide? Tell that to a plant’

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Santorum holds a piece of shale as he speaks at the Gulf Coast Energy Summit in Biloxi, March 12, 2012. (AP/Rogelio …

Rick Santorum told attendees at the Gulf Coast Energy Summit in Biloxi, Mississippi, on Monday to trust his judgment on the environment, highlighting his position on climate change—that is, that it's a liberal myth.

"The dangers of carbon dioxide? Tell that to a plant, how dangerous carbon dioxide is," Santorum said, according to the Associated Press.

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Santorum sharpened his tone on the energy issue as the country's surging gas prices have come into focus.

"I didn't change as the climate changed," Santorum said. "I stood tall. Now the climate has changed and everyone's for drilling now. But understand that when times were tough, they were not and I was."

As he did last month, Santorum positioned himself as the only candidate in the GOP field that stands polar opposite of Obama on energy, calling global warming a "hoax."

On Saturday, an op-ed penned by Santorum was published on RedState.com, explaining his position in more detail.

"The Washington Establishment would rather fight global warming than fight for American jobs," Santorum wrote. "President Obama and his administration have decided to wage war against global warming and thus against the American worker. ... Those living on or near the Gulf Coast in particular know the impact these extreme environmental positions can have on the region's economy."

Santorum's GOP opponents, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, have flip-flopped and "supported the radical environmentalists' measures to combat global warming at the expense of American jobs."

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Romney and Gingrich have changed their views for one simple reason: to pander to Republican voters when the political heat is rising. They sought to ingratiate themselves with trendy liberal elites—despite lack of conclusive, verifiable scientific evidence ... Of all the GOP candidates, I am the only one who has not bowed, and will never bow, to this liberal orthodoxy. I did not pander when global warming seemed cool to the press and to Hollywood. We know that climate changes over time, that the earth warms and cools over time. This debate is about whether human activity plays a role, and whether U.S. emissions cuts can have any effect when China and India refuse to go along. The apostles of this pseudo-religion believe that America and its people are the source of the earth's temperature. I do not.

Gingrich, for his part, also took the anti-Obama baton during his speech to the same summit Monday. "[This is a] very anti-fossil fuel administration," Gingrich said. "The left wing environmental movement hates oil."

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