As a lifelong Republican, Richard Cizik believes the Republican party ought to pay attention to the science of climate change.
Question: How has climate change shaped your views of the Republican party?
Richard Cizik: Well I happen to think that as a lifelong Republican, that this party ought to pay attention to science. It ought to pay attention to the science of climate change. It ought to pay attention to the 40 percent, 50 percent of its base that are evangelicals. But most of all it ought to do it because it’s right. And so what do you argue on? Well you could argue on biblical basis. You could argue on political calculation. You could argue on a lot of different levels that this is important. Not the …Salvation of the earth itself is a good enough argument for some; but argue it based upon self-interest for Republicans if that’s what it takes. Because if you … I say to Republican lawmakers, “If you continue to deny that this is happening and hold up action, I think history will hold you accountable just,” I would say, “as history holds those who oppose Civil Rights accountable” Look, evangelical Christians sat on their hands during the great Civil Rights fight of the 1960s. They did, I think to their shame. And so if climate change is, as I say it is, the Civil Rights issue of the 21st century, I am not going to sit on my hands and do nothing on this Civil Rights issue. Absolutely not. Because history will judge who is right and who was wrong, so do what’s right.
Recorded on: 6/25/07