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Bill Clinton Slams GOP Climate Deniers During Global Initiative Conference

Bill Clinton Climate Change

First Posted: 09/20/11 04:44 PM ET Updated: 09/20/11 04:44 PM ET

"We look like a joke, right?" Former President Bill Clinton wasted no time at his annual philanthropic conference with an attack on GOP climate deniers.

At the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual NYC meeting, Politico reports that the former president said, "If you’re an American, the best thing you can do is to make it politically unacceptable for people to engage in denial ... I mean, it makes us – we look like a joke, right? You can’t win the nomination of one of the major parties in the country if you admit that the scientists are right?"

Clinton went on to say that the U.S. needs to debate more over strategies to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

TreeHugger reports:

"If you listen to Rush Limbaugh," Clinton said, and "he tells you that climate change is a hoax ... If you don't know better, if you haven't seen better," then you'll likely continue to deny the science. "You have to change the experience of people."

Many GOP presidential candidates have questioned evolution and climate change, including Rick Perry, who told New Hampshire voters, "I think we're seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists that are coming forward and questioning the original idea that manmade global warming is what is causing the climate to change."

Not all GOP candidates disagree with scientists. During a Republican presidential debate in Simi Valley, Jon Huntsman said, "When you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call to question evolution, all I'm saying is that in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science."

According to the Associated Press, Clinton also discussed at the conference which countries were most likely to suffer next from climate change, saying, "I think it's quite possible that the Maldives won't be here in 30 or 40 years."

Clinton's remarks come on the heels of Former Vice President Al Gore's climate change campaign, "24 Hours of Reality." In an interview with HuffPost's Tom Zeller, Gore said, "The greatest opportunity for change lies in the hearts of those who have rejected the science but who are right now asking themselves a question ... Have they been fooled by the oil companies and the coal companies? Have they been taken for a ride by the large polluters who have been putting out misinformation?"

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Filed by Joanna Zelman  |