The Spectacle Blog

Global Warming, Sans the Snowman

By on 7.27.07 | 8:23AM

I learned something in today's Washington Post: Fred Thompson thinks those who believe in global warming are like those who believed the earth was flat in Galileo's time. (I have contacted Thompson's spokesman to confirm this is accurate but have not heard back yet. If the Post got this wrong I will be happy to update.)

This got me thinking about what conservatives in general and the other candidates in particular are saying on the subject. (A glance at recent polling by Fox, Gallup and ABC shows a majority of Americans by varying degrees believe in global warming and believe it is a result of human activity, but I could not find a breakdown by party affiliation.)

In its June 25 edition National Review took a different approach with a cover story on global warming that began: "It is no longer possible, scientifically or politically, to deny that human activities have very likely increased global temperatures; what remains in dispute is the precise magnitude of the human impact. Conservatives should accept this reality - and move on to the question of what we should do about it."

When asked about global warming in the June New Hampshire debate earlier this year, Rudy Giuliani said: "I think we have to accept the view that scientists have that there is global warming and that humans contribute to that. It's frustrating and really dangerous for us to see money going to our enemies because we have to buy oil from certain countries. We should be supporting all the alternatives. We need a project similar to putting a man on the moon." Romney was a bit more circumspect, but nevertheless said this: "Rudy Giuliani is right in terms of an Apollo project to get us energy independent, and the effects of that on global warming are positive. It's a no-regrets policy. It's a great idea. [We need,] as a strategic imperative, energy independence for America. And it takes that Apollo project. It also takes biodiesel, biofuel, cellulosic ethanol, nuclear power, more drilling in ANWR. We have to be serious also about efficiency and that's going to allow us to become energy independent."

In the February 13, 2007 Boston Globe, John McCain together with Joe Lieberman penned an editorial stating: "The recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded there is a greater than 90 percent chance that greenhouse gases released by human activities like burning oil in cars and coal in power plants are causing most of the observed global warming. This report puts the final nail in denial's coffin about the problem of global warming." McCain, like Giuliani and Romney, then suggested that we "harness the power of the free market and the engine of American innovation to reduce the nation's greenhouse gas emissions."

This should make for an interesting debate (preferably one with no snowman) in which not only the candidates' substantive ideas can be batted about but voters can assess in a general election setting who will be the best spokesman for conservative views.

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