By Dina Cappiello-Associated Press, The Washington Times
WASHINGTON (AP) â€” For Republican presidential contenders who once supported combating global warming, the race is heating up. Faced with an activist right wing that questions the science linking pollution to changes in the Earthâ€™s climate and also disdains big government, most of the GOP contenders have stepped back from their previous positions on global warming. Some have apologized outright for past support of proposals to reduce heat-trapping pollution. And those who havenâ€™t fully recanted are under pressure to do so.
The latest sign of that pressure came Thursday when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he was pulling his state out of a regional agreement to reduce greenhouse gases, saying it wonâ€™t work. While Christie, a rising GOP star, has said he wonâ€™t run for his partyâ€™s presidential nomination, some in the party continue to recruit him.
â€œRepublican presidential hopefuls can believe in man-made global warming as long as they never talk about it, and oppose all the so-called solutions,â€ said Marc Morano, a former aide to Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, one of the most vocal climate skeptics in Congress.
Morano now runs a website called Climate Depot where he attacks anyone who buys into the scientific consensus on climate change. Enemy No. 1 for Morano these days is Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker who in 2008 shared a couch with then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a TV ad backed by climate change guru Al Gore.
In it Gingrich says, â€œWe do agree that our country must take action on climate change.â€
Since that appearance, Gingrich, who once ran an environmental studies program at a Georgia college, has called for the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency. Heâ€™s also spoken out against a Democratic bill that passed the House in 2009 that would have limited emissions of greenhouse gases and created a market for pollution permits to be bought and sold.
But that hasnâ€™t been enough to satisfy conservative critics. Gingrich, who in 2007 told The New York Times that it was conceivable human beings were playing a role in global warming, went further in a recent interview when he said he doubted there was a connection between climate change and the burning of fossil fuels.
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