Republicans Warm up to Climate Change

Republican Senator John McCain has pledged to tackle climate change if elected President.

According to Reuters, some influential Republicans have begun to "drink the Kool-Aid" on global warming. While none of the major Republican Presidential candidates besides John McCain have even articulated a position on the climate change issue—it isn’t even on their political radar—some of the party faithful are starting to embrace it as way to attract support from beyond traditional ranks, especially in light of the party losing majorities in both houses of Congress in 2006.

"Republicans lost in 2006 because independents abandoned our party," says former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman. "How do we earn the confidence back of independents? [Climate change] is an issue on which not only you can do it, but it’s an issue on which you can do it consistent with conservative values." Some of the independents Mehlman has in mind include economic conservatives who view technological solutions as a way to create wealth and jobs, corporate leaders supportive of an across-the-board federal limit on carbon emissions so as to avoid adhering to a patchwork of state laws, religious conservatives in favor of emission cuts as an aspect of human stewardship of divine creation, and national security conservatives looking to reduce our dependence on foreign oil through decreasing our consumption of fossil fuels.

Despite lack of interest in climate change on the part of the Bush administration and its major allies, a handful of Republicans already stand out for their commitment to forging climate solutions. At the state level, California’s Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has led the effort—now including 15 other states—to push the federal government to break from protocol and allow his state to set emissions standards for cars and trucks higher than current national standards in order to further reduce emissions. Republican Senator John Warner is co-sponsoring a bill to cap carbon emissions, while Republican Presidential front-runner and Arizona Senator John McCain co-authored a previous (failed) climate change bill. McCain has pledged to take decisive action on climate change if he is elected President, as have all the Democratic hopefuls. It looks as though America is headed for a new President—Republican or Democrat—who will make the country a leader, not the laggard it has been, on solving the climate crisis.

Source: Planet Ark