GOP Candidates Please Dems with Climate-Change Concessions

Josiah Ryan | Staff Writer | Friday, December 14, 2007

GOP Candidates Please Dems with Climate-Change Concessions

On the Spot ( - A number of House Democrats said on Thursday they were pleased that leading Republican presidential candidates conceded in a debate on Wednesday that man was contributing to global warming and that a government response to the problem was needed.

By contrast, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) - ranking member of the Senate Environment Committee, who is a leading critic of global-warming theory - expressed dismay that so many of the Republican candidates took the position they did.

"Conservatives are looking for a Republican presidential candidate anxious to stand-up and reject global warming alarmist's claims advocated by liberal elites like Al Gore and his friends in Hollywood," Inhofe told Cybercast News Service.

"Doing so would rally the conservative base and shore-up a major voting constituency in the Republican Party. I happen to believe that person will be Fred Thompson. That's why I endorsed him," he added.

In the Wednesday debate, sponsored by the Des Moines Register, the paper's editor Carolyn Washburn, asked the Republican candidates: "How many of you believe global climate change is a serious threat and caused by human activity?"

Thompson asked for a minute to give his answer, and when Washburn insisted on a show of hands, he refused to comply.

Then, however, Washburn asked Sen. John McCain of Arizona to give his view. "I think that climate change is real," said McCain. "I've been involved in this issue since the year 2000. I have had hearings. I've traveled the world.

"I know that climate change is real. ... It's real. We've got to address it. We can do it with technology, with cap and trade, with capitalist and free enterprise motivation. And I'm confident that we can pass on to our children and grandchildren a cleaner, better world," McCain added.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani then chimed in. "I agree with John," said Giuliani. "Climate change is real. It's happening. I believe human beings are contributing to it. I think the best way to deal with it is through energy independence." Giuliani added that he thought "all parties should embrace this as an issue."

The moderator then put the question to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. "Is global warming an issue for the world? Absolutely," said Romney. "Is it something we can deal with by becoming energy independent and energy secure? We sure can.

"But at the same time, we call it global warming, not America warming. So let's not put a burden on us alone and have the rest of the world skate by without having to participate in this effort. It's a global effort," Romney added.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was asked a different question: Would he increase mandates for biofuels? He said he did not think that was necessary but echoed a statement made earlier by McCain that if we proceed as if man-made global warming is happening and it turns out we are wrong, all the things we have done to stop it will make the world cleaner for our children.

"But climate change and who's causing it is of less importance than what Senator McCain said. He's exactly right," said Huckabee. "We have done no harm if we take better care of this planet and give it to our children with cleaner air, cleaner soil and cleaner water."

In August, Huckabee was asked directly by The Hotline whether he believes global warming is caused by humans. He responded that he is "not a scientist" but thinks "we ought to act as if that is the case."

Cybercast News Service asked a number of House Democrats for their reaction to the views on global warming expressed in the Des Moines debate by the leading Republican candidates.

"I would love to understand what it is they learned that made the difference," said Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.). "I am glad that they have acknowledged at the minimum it's a problem and at worse that it's dangerous. It's an acknowledgement by what could be the party leader for the Republicans."

Honda added that he wished the president agreed with these candidates. "It's just a shame that the president doesn't share their view, because all of his policies have been as if nothing is happening," he said.

Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) expressed his agreement with the Republican candidates. "I agree," he said. "I am not a scientist, but it seems that the preponderance of scientific evidence says there is a problem. I agree."

Green noted that global warming is now a popular issue with voters. "It doesn't surprise me that Republicans are to this point," he said. "I think if you check the polls in this country, most people are saying, yes we need to address it. But how we are going to deal with it is where the problem is."

Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.) told Cybercast News Service he is glad to hear Republican candidates concede that global warming is a problem but wants to hear their solutions. "I am glad they are finally admitting global warming is a problem," he said, "but now the devil is in the details. What are they prepared to do about it?"

Rep. Michael T. McCaul (D-Texas) actually expressed more skepticism about man being the cause of global warming than either Rudy Giuliani or John McCain. "I think we all agree that global warming is happening." he told Cybercast New Service. "The question is what the main cause is for it? Is it man-made or some sort of natural cycle?"

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