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In may, Richard Cizik, governmental affairs vice president for the National Association of Evangelicals, talked to The Wall Street Journal about human-induced climate change (often referred to as "global warming"). Cizik pointed to polls of the NAE membership that revealed "even George Bush supporters believe you have to offer something more … than simply voluntary measures" to address the problem.

Cizik identified himself as "one of those Bush Republicans," but added, "I disagree with the President on this one."

Soon Cizik and Bush may be able to agree. In August, the administration finally acknowledged that the climate change since 1970 cannot be accounted for in purely natural terms, and that "smokestacks and tailpipes are the likely cause." According to The New York Times, that judgment was delivered "in a report to Congress accompanied by a letter signed by the secretaries of energy and commerce and the President's science adviser."

The administration has previously brushed off such reports or even suppressed them. Now it is time for whoever leads the United States to address its contribution to the problem. Attitudes are changing across the board. In August, Business Week carried the cover line, "Global Warming: Why Business Is Taking It So Seriously." The article shows that major energy companies realize that it is to their advantage to make voluntary changes that preempt government actions and save them money.

Not everyone is persuaded about the link between human activity and climate change. But the scientific data have grown increasingly solid as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's reports moved from 1994 to 1997 to 2004. The real danger is to wait until the data are undeniable. While ExxonMobil, the ...

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In the Magazine

October 2004

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