New US Energy Chairman: "I Don't Think We Have to Regulate Carbon"

Fred Upton (R-MI) is the incoming chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the US House of Representatives. He used to be concerned about the "serious problem" of global climate change, which he said must "necessitate serious solutions." But that was way back in 2009, back before it became apparent that Tea Party rhetoric was going to dominate the election cycle -- and before it was accepted as conventional wisdom that anyone who uttered the word "regulation" would be dropped from conservative favor like a bag of, um, tea. Now, a whole year later, Upton says that carbon emissions are no big deal, and that, in fact, regulating them would destroy the US economy. Here's Think Progress:

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who will take control of the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week, has dramatically changed his views on regulating carbon emissions over the past several months, evolving from a position that "[c]limate change is a serious problem that necessitates serious solutions" in April 2009 to writing in the Wall Street Journal this week that he opposes any regulation of carbon emissions, and that if the EPA did so, it would be an "unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs."
And them's not the words of the nefariously progressive blog either, or even some one-off statement Upton uttered at some energy conference. No, that was the Congressman's stated position on his very own website. Until recently, his position read: ""I strongly believe that everything must be on the table as we seek to reduce carbon emissions. Climate change is a serious problem that necessitates serious solutions."

Now, he seems to write off a carbon cap as a dangerous "energy tax" and believes that EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions would somehow eliminate "millions" of American jobs (both those objections, it should be noted, are well-rehearsed talking points that we must gear up to hear all over again). Both those two leading options are evidently off the table. So what's on the table for Mr. Upton? Not much. He seems to want to build some nuclear power plants, but that's not measure enough to count as a "serious solution" to climate change.

So it appears that Upton is indeed abandoning his concern for climate change -- that once-encouraging language now appears to be removed from his website -- and abandoning the nation's near-term clean energy future along with it. It's a flip-flop that, humorously enough, was caught by none other than Fox News, as you can see in the video above.

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