U.S. hunters, anglers weigh in on climate change
When people think of hunting and fishing politicians in America — at least prominent ones — two things spring to mind: 1. Republican and 2. Climate change skeptic. Former President George W. Bush, his vice president Dick Cheney and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin all fall into both categories.
But the hunting and fishing crowd — widely seen as reliably Republican because of that’s party’s successful portrayal of itself as the defender of God and guns — has also started to take note of climate change. After all, hunters and anglers are in the outdoors in pursuit of wildlife season after season, year after year.
But what may concern some Republican strategists is that many of them also accept the science of climate change, which overwhelmingly points to fossil fuel emissions as the main cause driving global warming.
This may help explain why Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina broke ranks with his party to outline a compromise to limit carbon emissions in a Sunday New York Times opinion piece he co-wrote with Democratic Senator John Kerry. Hunters and anglers in the U.S. South are widely seen as part of the Republican base and his call for action was saluted on Wednesday during a teleconference call hosted by the South Carolina Wildlife Federation (SCWF) and involved other outdoor groups.
“I have observed things in my life time that suggest that significant impacts have already been felt here in our state,” said Clinch Heyward, the 60-year-old chairman of the SCWF.
He noted that in a life time of duck hunting he had noticed a decline in the state’s duck population while Virginia, where one of his sons now lives, had more and more ducks.
“I was deer hunting last weekend and here it is October and it is 90 degrees (about 32 Celsius),” he said in his thick southern accent.
The SCWF said in a statement that: “Sportsmen are calling for passage of comprehensive climate and energy legislation“.
Such legislation is currently being considered in the U.S. Senate and is one of President Barack Obama’s top domestic priorities.
The shooting and fishing crowd is not always seen as a natural ally of the bunny and tree-hugging crowd. Do you see at least some of them uniting on this issue? And what might the political implications for the Republican Party be?
(PHOTO: A young hunter takes aim at the Cabela’s store in Fort Worth, Texas June 26, 2008. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES)