GOP Platform Chair: McCain 'Pushed Very Hard' for Climate Change Plank

     The GOP is making a dramatic change to its stance on climate change thanks to a “push” from presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, according to the 2008 Republican Platform Committee chairman.

     Platform Chair Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Calif., spoke to the group of conservative bloggers at the Republican National Convention on September 3 in St. Paul, Minn. He said McCain’s campaign was an instrumental part in pushing for a plank about climate change, to the chagrin of many conservatives.

     “One thing you got to understand, when it comes to a platform, this is the difficulty that you have – you have a microcosm of the Republican Party sitting there,” McCarthy said. “You have a nominee that has influence inside a platform, when it comes forward too. And you will find that John McCain has a very strong belief when it comes to global warming.”

     He explained there was no consensus on the platform as a whole and told the audience the campaign was very emphatic pushing for the language.

     “How did it start out? The campaign pushed very hard in a position of where it’s at,” McCarthy said. “Collectively, we go into committee before – change, but I think you found compromise on both sides. And you found a place that might not be 100 percent – and I’ll be the first one to tell you with 112 people – I don’t agree with the platform 100 percent in there. No one agrees with it 100 percent. You know, it’s difficult to do that, but you try to come at the end of the day to find common sense and common ground. And I think you read that section, you’d actually be proud of that section.”

     The final GOP platform includes support for action to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, though it avoids the term “global warming.” “The same human economic activity that has brought freedom and opportunity to billions has also increased the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. While the scope and longterm consequences of this are the subject of ongoing scientific research, common sense dictates that the United States should take measured and reasonable steps today to reduce any impact on the environment,” the platform states.

     Last week, reports surfaced the plank’s language would take a proactive stance on global warming, but with slightly different language. A draft of the document was reported to contain the following phrasing:

     “Increased atmospheric carbon has a warming effect on the Earth. While the scope and long term consequences of this warming effect are the subject of ongoing research, we believe the United States should take measured and reasonable steps today.”

     McCarthy said there was compromise on both sides, but assured the audience the section would be “based on science.”

     “One thing that I would tell you – that if you read that section, you will see strong Republican principles – that it has to be based on science,” McCarthy said. “You can’t do damage with anything when it comes to common sense business throughout.”

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