Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Defeated Sen. Lugar Laments GOP Climate Stance

Six-term Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), who was defeated in Tuesday’s Republican primary, attacked the GOP's hardened stance on climate change as part of a wider broadside against “unrelenting” partisanship he delivered after last night’s loss.

“I don’t remember a time when so many topics have become politically unmentionable in one party or the other,” Lugar said in a lengthy statement issued after he lost to Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

“Republicans cannot admit to any nuance in policy on climate change. Republican members are now expected to take pledges against any tax increases. For two consecutive presidential nomination cycles, GOP candidates competed with one another to express the most strident anti-immigration view, even at the risk of alienating a huge voting bloc,” Lugar added.

The statement also took aim at what Lugar called Democratic inflexibility on several issues.
Lugar is among a dwindling number of GOP lawmakers who has spoken about the need to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Mourdock, in contrast, has slammed what he calls “junk science associated with global climate change alarmism.”

However, Lugar, while arguing for curbing emissions, has locked horns with climate advocates when it comes to policy prescriptions. Last year he joined other Republicans in voting for a failed proposal to strip EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gases.

On climate legislation, Lugar was among the minority of Republicans that voted for failed cap-and-trade proposals in 2003 and 2005 sponsored by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

But in 2008 he voted against cap-and-trade legislation sponsored by Lieberman and then-Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), and in 2010 floated a broad energy security bill that did not include an emissions cap, although he touted other provisions that would help curb emissions.
Lugar has seen his party move increasingly into the skeptic camp on climate change.

It has become increasingly common in recent years for Republicans to break with the view, held by the overwhelming majority of scientists, that the planet is warming and human actions are playing an important role.

Some other centrist Republicans have also criticized their party’s direction on climate.

Former Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.) took his party to task in a 2010 Washington Post column. Former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) — who lost to a more conservative challenger in a 2010 GOP primary — has also expressed concern.

By Ben Geman@The Hill


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