The GOP presidential candidates worry me.

I’m worried, not because I think the contenders are unintelligent or incapable, rather because there is a good chance that the name across from Barack Obama on the 2012 ballot for president will be the name of a person who does not believe in human-caused climate change. We might as well have a president that disregards science altogether.

Given the floods, fires, wind storms, hurricanes and tornadoes that the United States witnessed in just the last year, it seems there could be no worse time to be ignoring the science.

Michele Bachmann told Minnesota Public Radio earlier this summer, “The big thing we are working on now is the global warming hoax. It’s all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax.”

Perhaps Bachmann should take a trip to New Orleans, Phoenix, Birmingham or Joplin, Mo. and tell those victimized by 2011’s worst disasters that it’s all a hoax. That would be one sure way to lose votes.

If it matters to you where the Republican presidential nominees stand on issues of energy, climate and the environment (including cap-and-trade, a brainchild of the Republican party), see my breakdown of the candidates’ positions: ranked from worst to best.

8. Michele Bachmann: Global warming is a hoax. The Environmental Protection Agency should be renamed “the job-killing organization of America.” Any cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emissions should be stopped in its track. We should bring back the inefficient incandescent light bulb. Big Oil deserves federal assistance, but not clean energy.

7) Rick Santorum “Scientists have not decisively concluded” that climate change is happening. There should be fewer restraints on smokestack emissions from coal and oil power plants. We should be drilling anywhere and everywhere. Solar and other renewable energy projects should be stripped of funding. Energy independence is good, as long as we are independently increasing domestic oil production. “Coal is not a dirty word if we are realistic about saving the Earth.”

6) Herman Cain “If the world market believed that [the United States was] serious about energy independence, and we were going to utilize all of our existing resources, the speculators would stop speculating up, and they would speculate down until we got our own oil out of the ground” (if this theory makes any sense to you, please let me know). We can drill our way out of our energy problems. The Environmental Protection Agency is a job killer and oil companies should regulate the oil industry. Cap-and-trade is a scheme and human-caused climate change is fake.

5) Ron Paul Climate change is a nonissue and it’s uncertain whether humans have any impact. All subsidies and special benefits to energy companies must end. Offshore drilling and drilling in the Arctic Nation Wildlife Refuge is good. Farm subsidies are bad.

4) Rick Perry The complexities of the global atmosphere elude even the most sophisticated scientists, making climate change a scam. The BP oil spill was an “act of God” and we should still defend oil and coal. Emissions should not be a concern for the transportation agenda. Wind power is good for the Texas economy, but this evidence is not reason enough to expand the local solar industry.

3) Mitt Romney Clean energy is good, just not when it takes the form of wind turbines off the coast of Cape Cod. The idea that “carbon emission limits will provide real and immediate progress in the battle to improve our environment” is so 2005 — as is believing that humans play a role in climate change. Ethanol subsidies are an important part of our energy solution. There should be more domestic oil and gas drilling, but “I’m not planning any new subsidies for the oil industry.”

2) Newt Gingrich His book, A Contract with Earth, suggests that environmental problems can be dealt with without litigation, regulation, taxation or bureaucracy (at least he acknowledges that there are problems). The Environmental Protection Agency should be eliminated and replaced by the Environmental Solution Agency (whatever that means). Drill here, there and everywhere, and pay less. Nuclear is good. Cap-and-trade is bad (but he worked on an ad with Nancy Pelosi in 2008 that supported policy to cope with climate change … looks like Gingrich still has some thinking to do).

1) Jon Huntsman Conservation is conservative. We need a new energy economy, a green energy economy. “Until we put a value on carbon, we’re never going to be able to get serious with dealing with climate change,” but we dropped the ball on cap-and-trade five years ago, so it’s no longer the appropriate time for this kind of policy. Ethanol and oil subsidies are bad. Alternative energy is good. “Science should be driving our discussions on climate change” (there’s a thought!).