CLIMATE -- February 5, 2010 at 1:13 PM ET
Top Republican on House Energy Committee: CO2 Is Not a Pollutant
As part of a series of conversations on President Obama's energy agenda and the climate change legislation circulating in Congress, I spoke this week from an opponent of the House bill that would set a cap on carbon emissions.
I spoke Thursday with Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce committee, at his office at the Rayburn House office building on Capitol Hill. That committee helped craft the Waxman-Markey bill passed narrowly in the House. Similar legislation that would limit carbon emissions and allow carbon credits to be traded among polluters has stalled in the Senate.
Barton told me that, contrary to what the Environmental Protection Agency has said, he thinks carbon dioxide is not a pollutant and that the government should not regulate it. He said he is open to promotion of cleaner, more efficient forms of energy.
This view contrasts starkly with my guest last week, Peter Molinaro of Dow Chemical. Dow is part of the United States Climate Action Partnership, a large group of corporations, labor groups and environmental groups calling on Congress to pass carbon cap and trade legislation. Molinaro argued that carbon dioxide is contributing to global warming and that the United States needs to act to be part of a clean energy economy before it is left behind by other nations.