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Are Republicans coming around on global warming? It’s hardly what you would call a stampede – especially with the top Republican staunchly opposed to action to cut greenhouse gases – but Grist magazine is reporting some thawing in the Senate’s so-far solid opposition to cutbacks.

Chief mind-changer seems to be Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE), who, possibly positioning himself for a presidential run in 2008, will supposedly introduce legislation sometime this month that his spokesperson called “one of the most comprehensive climate bills that have been proposed to date,” compatible with the climate strategy being proposed by Tony Blair. However, Grist says there would be no mandatory cut-backs on greenhouse gases, but instead incentives to acknowledge the scope of the problem and to develop the technology to manage it.

Other Republican Senators have voiced support for greenhouse-gas caps, including Snowe, Chafee, Collins, Gregg, and Lugar, with several others said to be “persuadable.” Some energy industry executives are also said to acknowledge the need to regulate emissions, believing that the regulation you know about (and can help shape) is better than the inevitable one forced upon you.

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