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Published:June 3rd, 2008 19:24 EST
Charlie Crist is Propelling Winds of Change

Charlie Crist is Propelling Winds of Change

By Jennifer L. Hernandez

Governor Charlie Crist and other GOP members recognize climate change and want other members to take notice. This comes, as a bit of a surprise considering that any issue remotely environmental has been very distant from the GOP`s rightist wing agenda.


In fact, in 2004 the Alaska Congressional Delegation dismissed reports concerning the impact of human activity on climate change. According to an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, Republican Rep. Don Young contended that the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment held no validity. He stated that it would just be ammunition for fearmongers. "


My biggest concern is that people are going to use this so-called study to try to influence the way and standard of living that occurs within the United States, " Young said.


I don`t believe it is our fault. That`s an opinion," Young said. "It`s as sound as any scientist`s. "


Three hundred scientists were involved with the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, which was commissioned by the Arctic Council. The council is comprised of an international commission representing eight countries, including the United States.


Despite the traditional GOP stance on climate change, Charlie Crist has taken steps to Serve to Preserve, to increase environmental awareness and to heighten recognition of human impact on climate change. In fact, the 2008 Serve to Preserve Florida Summit on Global Climate Change will take place June 25th-26th. Crist`s team has created an in-depth and detailed web site chronicling last year`s summit, information about the upcoming summit and facts concerning climate change.


Crist is enthusiastic about this mission, The entrepreneurial spirit and a love for our state`s natural resources are woven into the DNA of Florida`s residents, visitors and economy. I encourage all who share this spirit and love to take part in the 2008 Serve to Preserve Florida Summit on Global Climate Change. "


Crist believes that, This year`s summit will build on the strong foundation we began last year for Florida`s energy future. "


I invite you to join local, state, national and international officials, as well as industry and environmental leaders, in a discussion to explore opportunities for expanding Florida`s renewable and alternative energy marketplace, " Crist stated. 


Crist is not the only GOP member to realize the importance of climate change. In 2003, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (D- Conn.) co-wrote the bill called the Climate Stewardship Act, which promotes mandatory greenhouse gas caps.


McCain`s disposition regarding climate change has been unfaltering and in 2004, just two weeks after President Bush`s reelection, he presided over his final hearing as chair of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.


During the hearing, McCain commented that, We do have a major task in convincing the administration, " he said.  Its performance so far, to date, is disgraceful. "


McCain has seen firsthand the effects of global warming. According to a New York Times article, McCain and other senators visited the Arctic fringe in Norway and Iceland in the summer of 2004.


McCain expressed his observations from the visit as, It was remarkable "going up on a small ship next to this glacier and seeing where it had been just 10 short years ago and how quickly it`s receded. "


Although environmental awareness and climate change are topics that have been historically absent from the right wing, many individuals find members such as Governor Charlie Crist and former Arizona Senator and current Presidential Candidate, John McCain, refreshing. One thing is certain: the Republicans are beginning to the feel the winds of change.  Only time will tell, which way the trees will sway.