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Fwd: Conservative US States Express Concern At Global Climate Change

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  • npat1
    ... Moderators wrote: for the WCD from the SRT_eNews Sci/Tech Environment Hotter issue in red states: global warming From
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 22, 2006
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      --- In WildlifeConservationDepartment@yahoogroups.com, "WCD
      Moderators" <wcd_uk_moderators@...> wrote:

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      Sci/Tech > Environment

      Hotter issue in red states: global warming
      From evangelicals to students to business groups, climate
      change is a rising political concern.

      by Peter N. Spotts
      Staff Writer
      Christian Science Monitor

      Global warming isn't just a "blue state" issue anymore.

      From the Rocky Mountain West to the Southeast, influential red-state
      voices are beginning to call for more concerted efforts at local,
      state, and federal levels to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.

      And they are prodding Washington to address the challenge of
      adapting to the effects of global warming, which many scientists say
      are at work.

      So far, movement in a handful of red states has been modest when
      weighed against actions in California or the Northeast. But if this
      momentum is sustained, it will be harder for congressional and
      presidential candidates of either party to campaign in these states
      without backing more aggressive action to reduce emissions than the
      Bush administration has to date, some political analysts say.

      "There is a much broader degree of support for action that is first
      apparent" as many grass-roots groups in red states see what's at
      stake, says Timothy Profeta, director of Duke University's new
      Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy.

      Often, it is framed in economic terms - either the costs of
      disasters or the opportunities of turning native switch-grass into
      ethanol fuels.

      Last week, however, 86 Evangelical Christian leaders - many from
      conservative Sun Belt states - injected what they see as a critical
      moral and religious element. The group called for more aggressive US
      action on climate change, asserting that it is a "pro-life" position
      in accord with the Gospels, which call on Christians to care for the
      poor. The group noted that projected effects of global warming are
      likely to have the most impact on the poor, worldwide. The
      Evangelical group became the latest example of what some analysts
      call "reframing voices" on global warming.

      Others were evident when delegates from around the world met in
      Montreal in December to discuss the next steps for two UN global-
      warming agreements. In the past, often groups from developing
      nations and island states would describe the potential effects
      global warming would have back home. This time in an unusual twist,
      a "first world" panel of local business leaders, city officials, and
      sportsman's groups from the southeastern US did the same - with the
      year's record-breaking hurricane season as a backdrop.

      Many of the "nonpartisan" or "bipartisan" calls for action appear to
      come from liberal enclaves in conservative states. Yet that belies a
      streak of environmental stewardship that runs through many red-state
      conservatives, notes Georgia Tech political scientist Richard Barke.

      "I'm a native southerner, and I don't think that the South or even
      the traditional Evangelical Christian southerners are as monolithic
      as some people - perhaps ... some political operatives in
      Washington - may think," he says, "especially when they are given
      other information."

      He examined students' attitudes on a range of issues, including the
      environment in a survey in September.

      "Our students tend to self-identify as rather conservative, rather
      Republican," Dr. Barke says. Out of 130 students, "none of them said
      they were in favor of weakening environmental regulations. And a
      strong majority said they were in favor of strengthening
      regulations, including some students who put themselves out on the
      far tail of ideology and partisanship."

      Indeed, some students were upset to learn that their "conservative"
      views might be welcomed among tree-hugging liberal
      environmentalists, he adds.

      In addition to evangelical leaders, sportsman's groups are also
      concerned about the regional effects of global warming - in
      particular on hunting and fishing, which translates into tourist
      dollars.

      "These people are on the front lines" as they traipse across the
      countryside each season looking for game or a new fishing spot, says
      Jeremy Symons, head of the climate change and wildlife program at
      the National Wildlife Federation in Washington.

      Elsewhere, coastal states look at the effects of hurricanes Katrina
      and Rita and "sense that if global warming turns out to be real, the
      effects on society would be significant," says University of
      Tennessee political scientist David Feldman.

      Yet perhaps taking a page from GOP strategist Karl Rove's 2004
      presidential-campaign play book, advocates for more action in red
      states are increasingly framing the issue in terms of values, as
      well as in dollars and cents. The Evangelical leaders last week
      termed it "creation care." For bird-watchers, hunters, and the rod-
      and-reel set, global warming is often framed as stewardship of
      resources and activities passed down for generations.

      In some cases, these "reframing" voices may bring new people to the
      table to press for new solutions to global warming. In other cases,
      a business leader in North Carolina or Mississippi may hunt and
      attend an evangelical church, and Barke says for some people, these
      seemingly disparate voices reinforce each other.

      "If you were to ask me how the tide will turn in red states, the
      religious, the business, and the agriculture communities are going
      to come together to change the dynamics," says Stephen Smith,
      executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.


      Copyright � 2006 The Christian Science Monitor.

      NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this
      material is distributed to the SRT_eNews membership without profit,
      for research and educational purposes only.

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