Joe Scarborough: ‘Saving the World for Moral Reasons’ Is ‘the Republican View’

By Nicholas Ballasy | April 26, 2010 | 6:37 PM EDT

Former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough, now host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe" (Wikipedia Commons)

( – Former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough, now host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” said that if the “moral argument” to combat climate change, along with wide distribution of Al Gore’s movie on the topic, have not convinced enough Americans to “believe in global warming,” then “you do have to make the Machiavellian arguments” – in other words, place political expediency above morality to address the issue.  
Scarborough also said that “saving the world for moral reasons” is “the Republican view.”
Scarborough made his remarks in response to a point made by “Avatar” Director James Cameron during a panel discussion about environmental policy on Capitol Hill last week. Other people on the panel included actress Sigourney Weaver and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman.
“There certainly is a moral dimension to the environment,” said Scarborough, in response to Cameron’s comment on global warming. “Sometimes you just have to make the moral argument. But when 34 percent of Americans believe in global warming (and) when just passing out DVDs of Al Gore’s movie (“An Inconvenient Truth”) doesn’t move it up, at that point, that’s when you do have to make the Machiavellian arguments.”

Back in June 2006, while interviewing reporter John Stossel on MSNBC, Scarborough explained his view on global warming.
“I’ll tell you where I come from,” said Scarborough. “I always tell my viewers I believe in global warming. I think it’s happening. Fine. But at the same time, for Al Gore and Bill Clinton to say that it's causing flooding, that it's causing hurricanes, and it may have caused Hurricane Katrina, that's just ridiculous, isn't it? There is no proof of that, is there?”
Later in the interview, Scarborough repeated, “… (B)oth John and I believe there is global warming, we just think Al Gore and others are being alarmists about it.”
Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida, also said on the panel that Christian evangelicals are starting to view climate change as a moral issue.
“Interestingly enough, and I say this as a guy who grew up in the Southern Baptist Church, I’ve noticed over the past decade – and Nick Kristof writes about how evangelicals are now becoming people, and don’t tell Glenn Beck – who are starting to become champions of social justice,” said Scarborough.
“On the environment, there is a growing number of evangelicals that are seeing this as a moral issue, and I think what we’re going to see, as we move forward, different groups coming together that may have been together before,” he said.
“And I really do believe that you’re going to have evangelicals and younger Americans of every faith starting to be champions of this message (on climate change). I do think time is on the side of those who believe that this earth needs to be saved for moral reasons. I’m just giving the Republican view,” Scarborough added.
In his remarks before Scarborough, James Cameron had said: “You don’t do the ethical argument that we shouldn’t displace indigenous people because we should displace indigenous people – because they have a right and that needs to be acknowledged and so on.”
“We shouldn’t cut down the rainforest, because the rainforest has a moral right to exist in and of itself, and we will miss it desperately when it’s gone,” said Cameron. “But, and I could do hours on that subject about why this is in fact a moral and ethical issue.”
Cameron added that children are one segment of the population that view Avatar’s environmental message as a moral issue.
“I would point out that there is one segment of the public that does respond on that level, and it’s kids,” said Cameron. “Kids feel it in their heart. When they watch “Avatar,” they feel it because they care.
“They care about nature, and they feel, they feel a deep connect, as I did when I was a kid growing up in Canada in a small village that was rural,” he said. “And I spent all my free time in the woods. Again, as filmmakers, we work out our angst and our anxieties about the world through our films.”