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Kerry: Climate Change Supporters Must Match Tea Party Intensity

Ben Geman

U.S. Senator John Kerry, D-Mass., addresses a campaign rally for Martha Coakley. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Climate change advocates must match the intensity of conservative "tea party" activists, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said Wednesday.

"I want you to go out there and to start knocking on doors, and talking to people and telling people, ‘This has to happen,' " Kerry said in a speech at a climate and energy forum hosted by labor, farm and environmental groups.

"If tea party folks can go out there and get angry because they think their taxes are too high, for God's sakes a lot of citizens ought to get angry about the fact that they are being killed and our planet is being injured on a daily basis by the way that we provide our power and our fuel and the old practices," Kerry added.

Kerry is trying to craft a compromise climate and energy bill with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

Asked afterward if climate activists should take a page from the tea party playbook, Kerry said no, adding, "We have to take a page from the people who brought us the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water [Act], Marine Mammal Protection [Act]. We have done this before. We just have to get back to basics and make it happen again."

His speech cited the health benefits of curbing emissions and also said that shifting to low-carbon energy sources will improve national security.

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