Barton makes climate skepticism clear
By Juliet Eilperin
In one of the more comic notes of Wednesday night's State of the Union address, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) made it clear he's still on record as a climate change skeptic.
During one brief section of the speech, President Obama spoke about his desire for a comprehensive climate bill and declared: "I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy; and I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change."
At that moment Barton--the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee--stood up, clapped and waved at the president. Other Republicans remained seated--and silent.
Undeterred, Obama continued, "But even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future - because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation."
Obama did highlight two key concessions he's willing to make for the sake of a deal: more nuclear power plants and offshore oil drilling.
Describing the need for a boost in domestic energy production, the president said, "That means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development."
Joshua Freed, who directs the Clean Energy Initiative at the centrist group Third Way, e-mailed to say those lines carry political significance: "President Obama has doubled down on clean energy and a cap on carbon for 2010. Explicitly including nuclear shows how far he's willing to go and has probably surprised some folks tonight."
Juliet Eilperin| January 27, 2010; 11:57 PM ET Save & Share:
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