Posing for the covers of Newsweek and Outside magazines, Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger has toured the nation, scolding Detroit automakers for challenging California's strict car-emissions standards and telling Washington lawmakers they should enact tougher controls on carbon emissions to slow global warming.
During campaign stops in California in February, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, R-N.Y., met with Schwarzenegger to talk about California's landmark legislation to cut 80 percent of 1990 carbon levels by 2050.
In Silicon Valley, Giuliani held a press conference and told reporters, "I do believe there's global warming" and cited the "overwhelming number of scientists" that believe human beings are to blame.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, R-N.Y., who does little to squash rumors of a potential White House bid in 2008, announced Sunday an ambitious plan to make New York a "greener" city as he unveiled an extended list of environmentally friendly projects, including charging New Yorkers money to enter the city with a car.
It's all a sign that standing up for climate change is politically in vogue as candidates go into the 2008 president election.
"We are hearing more and more self-identified Republicans in the general public now saying they are very concerned about the issue and they want federal action," said David Sandretti, a spokesman for "The Heat Is On" campaign by the League of Conservation Voters.
For years, the chairman of the Senate's Environmental and Public Works Committee was Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., who famously declared "global warming is a hoax." He was replaced by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., in the 2006 midterm Democratic sweep.
Republicans may also be drawn to arguments that paint climate change as a national security threat.
Last week, a panel of retired military leaders issued a 63-page report that described climate change as a "threat multiplier" that could lead to food shortages, natural disasters, territorial disputes, and could draw U.S. forces into humanitarian missions in unstable areas.
"We will pay for this one way or another," said retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, who commanded U.S. forces in Iraq.
The grass roots environmental group has launched a campaign to spark debate on climate change in early primary voting states, targeting New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada.
Beginning Sunday, a cable television ad about climate change will air in South Carolina, sponsored by the League of Conservation Voters
The seven-day ad blitz features a commercial with actor and environmentalist Robert Redford, who said, "We need to challenge all of the presidential candidates to make solving global warming a top priority."
"We're getting anecdotal evidence in South Carolina where Republicans in that state are beginning to say 'we need to do something about global warming,'" said Sandretti, of the League of Conservation Voters.
The project also targeted the key primary voting state of New Hampshire, where 150 towns voted affirmatively on a resolution to create a national program to cut greenhouse gas emissions and develop sustainable energy technologies.
"A large number of these towns were placed which had voted for George Bush in the last two presidential elections, by sizable margins," said Sandretti, arguing this is further proof of a change in the electorate.