John Kerry tells advocates for clean air and clean energy to get as angry as Tea Partiers

This is a repost by Think Progress’s Brad Johnson, about the senator from the state where they had the very first “tea party.”

Speaking at the 2010 Clean Energy, Jobs and Security Forum yesterday, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) invoked the anger of conservative tea partiers in his advice to advocates of climate legislation. His comments came following the shocking election of Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), who rode a wave of anti-incumbent anger to win the seat previously held by Sen. Ted Kennedy. Kerry told the assembled crowd that if “the Tea Party folks can go out there and get angry because they think their taxes are too high,” then even more people “ought to get angry about the fact that they’re being killed and our planet is being injured” by fossil fuel pollution:

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I want you to go out there and start knocking on doors and talking to people and telling people this has to happen. You know, if the Tea Party folks can go out there and get angry because they think their taxes are too high, for God’s sake, a lot of citizens ought to get angry about the fact that they’re being killed and our planet is being injured by what’s happening on a daily basis by the way we provide our power and our fuel and the old practices that we have. That’s something worth getting angry about.

Even if the mortal threat of global warming is not considered, coal and oil pollution kills 20,000 Americans every year “” health costs that far outweigh the price of carbon caps. With unprecedented corporate lobbying having stalled energy reform in the Senate, it’s time for climate activists to start brewing up batches of green tea.

JR: Greenwire (subs. req’d) has more:

Kerry, a lead author of Senate energy and climate legislation, tried to make the case that his efforts would help curtail summertime spikes in hospital visits for childhood asthma. And he also insisted that a cap on greenhouse gases would drive private investments in new clean-energy technologies and help restart the economy.

“We need to recognize that the biggest single stimulus package in the United States of America is the energy climate change legislation,” he said.

Asked if he was urging activists to echo the tone of Tea Party activists who have tapped into public anger over the economy and Obama administration policies, Kerry replied, “We just have to take a page from who brought us the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act. We’ve been doing this before, and we just have to get back to basics and make it happen again. It’s called being active and not letting up.”