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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:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Please report offensive comments below.

Any body with a scientific or engineering education who has attempted to educate himself on the topic is also skeptical that anthropogenic CO2 is adversely affecting the climate. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is around 385 parts per million and only about 5 percent of that can be attributed to human activities. When you respire, you exhale about 5% CO2.

Water vapor is a much more prevalent and determinative "greenhouse" gas. Don't fool yourself that imposing a cap on CO2 will have any affect on our climate. If you support the tax because it is highly regressive and we need every dollar possible to reduce the deficit, fine.

Everyone wants conservation and development of energy alternatives to combusting hydrocarbons, but the motivation should be that we are exhausting the supply as population grows and hydrocarbons are better used to produce useful compounds and products.

Sadly our President's inexperience and ineptness is becoming increasingly obvious.

Posted by: brian45011 | January 28, 2010 12:50 AM
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