"The Most Important Decision in the History of Environmental Decisions": Ed Markey On CO2 As Pollutant Finding [Video]

ed markey co2 pollutant congress finding decision photo

Congressman Markey and EPA Chief Lisa Jackson at Green Apple Festival in DC

On Sunday, Republican leader John Boehner said he thinks the idea of CO2 as a pollutant is "almost comical." Later that day Democratic congressman Ed Markey, a co-author with Henry Waxman of the massive renewable energy draft bill before Congress, told TreeHugger something quite different: the EPA's finding that greenhouse gases were harmful to humans is "the most important decision in thie history of environmental decisions." The video's below.

Backstage at DC's Green Apple Festival, I asked him what the EPA's finding -- and the prospect of regulation of CO2 and other emissions by the government -- might mean for the climate legislation before Congress, which calls for, among other things, a cap-and-trade system for CO2. After a brief interruption, the video cut out part way through, but the rest of his answer was, "We really need to create a framework to deal with the issue legislatively."

Meanwhile, John Boehner on CO2 as a pollutant and on the prospect of a legislative solution, from ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos:

Amidst increasing pressure from the White House to make the US a leader in global climate policy, the climate bill will be discussed this week in Congress, before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Also on Capitol Hill during this "mother of all climate weeks": the House Science and Technology Committee will also hold a hearing on Wednesday about measuring greenhouse gas emissions, while the Senate will hear from State Department climate change envoy Todd Stern on new global climate change agreements.

But at the main event on Wednesday Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and EPA chief Lisa Jackson, who I spoke to this weekend, will testify to House lawmakers. On Friday, former vice president Al Gore will give testimony, along with a number of climate scientists.

But climate science be damned: on Capitol Hill the danger of greenhouse gases still appears to depend on your party affiliation. Clearly, given the deep rift between Boehner's "comical" and Markey's "most important decision" -- and the economic worries among Republicans and Democrats from oil- and coal-producing states -- Markey and other supporters of the energy bill will have their work cut out for them.

Lawmakers plan to move the bill through committee and to the full House by the Memorial Day recess.

Photo credit: Alex Pasternack
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