In a First, Draft GOP Platform Credits Human Role in Global Warming
By Juliet Eilperin
Republicans started making the final changes to their party platform today in Minneapolis, hammering out a staunchly-conservative document that calls for constitutional amendments banning abortion and gay marriage while leaving decisions about how to pursue the war in Iraq up to the next president.
But the 48-page document -- which is roughly half as long as the party's 2004 platform -- does reflect certain priorities of the presumptive GOP nominee John McCain, by highlighting issues such as the environment.
The current draft doesn't get into the weeds like the previous one did, according to Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who co-chairs the platform committee. "We wanted it to be shorter, more principled, forward looking," he told reporters during a conference call this afternoon.
While the 2004 platform did not mention global warming, the draft document Republican delegates took up today in committee includes a one-page section "addressing climate change responsibly." For the first time, the platform acknowledges that human activity has contributed to global warming: "The same human activity that has brought freedom and opportunity to billions has also increased the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Increased atmospheric carbon has a warming effect on the earth."
But the document remains silent on the question of capping carbon emissions -- a policy McCain endorses -- and tamps down the idea of using broad government regulation to address the problem.
"Republicans caution against the doomsday climate change scenarios peddled by aficionados of centralized command-and-control government," the platform draft reads. "We can -- and should -- address global warming without succumbing to the no-growth radicalism that treats climate questions as dogma rather than as situations to be managed responsibly.
League of Conservation Voters president Gene Karpinksi, whose group has endorsed McCain's rival, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), said the platform language suggests McCain would follow in the footsteps on President Bush on the question of climate change.
"This sounds like more of the Bush White House plan: acknowledge the problem as real, but propose no serious solutions to deal with it," Karpinski said in a phone interview, as he attended the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
And while reporters pointed out that McCain differed with several elements of the platform -- while he backs the repeal of Roe v. Wade, he opposes a constitutional amendment on abortion as well as one outlawing gay marriage -- both McCarthy and his fellow co-chair, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), suggested the senator didn't need to sign off on every detail.
"This is the party platform," McCarthy said. "No one agrees with a hundred percent of what's in there. The vast majority of this platform, John McCain agrees with."
Burr, for his part, noted that most journalists will stop covering the GOP platform in a week once it's adopted by the full convention.
Describing McCain's relationship to the platform, Burr asked rhetorically, "Is he bound to it? No, but it represents the overarching principles of what our party believes."
Posted at 9:49 PM ET on Aug 26, 2008
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