Rep. Boehner, The Election, and Guessing What's Next For Climate and Energy Action


photo via associated press

Everyone is trying to read the tea leaves to figure out what's going to happen to climate and energy legislation now that Rep. John Boehner is the Speaker-in-waiting. A post from last year might shed some light on this question. During an appearance on ABC News, told George Stephenopoulos the following: "The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide."

Here's the entire exchange:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you then about energy. We showed your statement on the president's decision through the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases. Also, you've come out against the president's proposal to cap-and-trade carbon emissions.
So what is the Republican answer to climate change? Is it a problem? Do you have a plan to address it?

BOEHNER: George, we believe that our -- all of the above energy strategy from last year continues to be the right approach on energy. That we ought to make sure that we have new sources of energy, green energy, but we need nuclear energy, we need other types of alternatives, and, yes, we need American-made oil and gas.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But that doesn't do anything when it comes to emissions, sir.

BOEHNER: When it comes to the issue of climate change, George, it's pretty clear that if we don't work with other industrialized nations around the world, what's going to happen is that we're going to ship millions of American jobs overseas. We have to deal with this in a responsible way.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what is the responsible way? That's my question. What is the Republican plan to deal with carbon emissions, which every major scientific organization has said is contributing to climate change?

BOEHNER: George, the idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you've got more carbon dioxide. And so I think it's clear...

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you don't believe that greenhouse gases are a problem in creating climate change?

BOEHNER: ... we've had climate change over the last 100 years -- listen, it's clear we've had change in our climate. The question is how much does man have to do with it, and what is the proper way to deal with this? We can't do it alone as one nation. If we got India, China and other industrialized countries not working with us, all we're going to do is ship millions of American jobs overseas.

It's unclear what Rep. Boehner intends to do on climate with his caucus and his new gavel. He may target EPA authority to regulate carbon emissions, or he might work with the President on a green jobs program. But given his hostility to science in the above video, the tea leaves read, for me, "Be very wary."

More on Boehner:
Just Weird: Boehner Says It's 'Comical' to Say Carbon Dioxide is Dangerous
Environment America Seeks to Stop Rep. John Boehner from Cutting 180,000 Green Jobs