Sen. Inhofe & Rep. Markey on Climate Change

Sen. Inhofe & Rep. Markey on Climate Change

By The Situation Room - December 7, 2009

BLITZER: A huge global warming conference about to begin in Copenhagen right now; lots of serious views under way, serious debate unfolding.

Let's get Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe joining us from Massachusetts, Democratic Congressman Ed Markey. They strongly disagree on what's going on.

Senator Inhofe, let me start with you because the EPA administrator Lisa Jackson today she said this in announcing the steps the Obama administration wants to advance.


LISA JACKSON, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: There is nothing in the hacked e-mails that undermines the science upon which this decision is based.


BLITZER: Is she right?

SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: Oh, no. She's not right. We had Lisa Jackson before my committee, oh, not more than a week, maybe a week and a half ago. She said that they relied upon the IPCC for the science that came to this decision to have the endangerment finding. And actually, I have a letter from her in writing saying that's where they get their science.

Now we see that that science has been pretty well debunked. And one thing interesting about this, Wolf, is that I remember a long time ago on your program -- four years ago -- I made a speech on the Senate floor where I talked about all these scientists coming in, talking about how they can't get their side on there and the science is all rigged.

And so I gave a speech on the floor that lasted about an hour on the floor and sure enough, what is happening today in this whole debate is just what we said was happening four years ago.

BLITZER: Let me let Congressman Markey weigh in. How much damage to these leaked e-mails do to your side of the story? Congressman, pick up your mike because I think it just fell off your lapel.


BLITZER: If you could just attach that to your sport jacket or suit that would be good.

MARKEY: I have it here. Thank you.

BLITZER: All right here we go. It's good now.

MARKEY: It does almost no damage at all.

In fact, the important thing to keep in mind here is that the National Academy of Sciences of every country in the world has endorsed these findings. It's not just the United States. It's not just the British. It's every country in the world.

And in addition -- and this is something that skeptics, the deniers -- cannot overcome. We are reporting this year the warmest ocean temperature in history. The last nine years have been amongst the top ten warmest in the history of the planet. There has been a six-degree increase in temperatures in Alaska over the last 50 years which is what's leading to villages actually falling into the ocean with the melting of the permafrost.

So the fundamental science has not been altered at all by this...

BLITZER: I want Senator -- hold on one second. I want Senator Inhofe to respond. But on the specific question of these scientists trying to prevent some dissenting scientific views from getting some air, from being known, you condemn that, don't you?

MARKEY: Well, absolutely. But, remember, almost all of the criticism that was in those e-mails was, in fact, included in the intergovernmental panel on climate change that the united Nations released. So it wasn't as though all of this skepticism wasn't, in fact, identified. It was only that -- the overwhelming majority of scientists in the world, thousands of them rejected the conclusions of this handful of skeptics.

BLITZER: Go ahead Senator.

INHOFE: Ed, you're in denial. You don't understand what just happened. This is a very serious thing.

Let me just tell you, I will read two things, Wolf. One is from the "Atlantic Monthly", "The stink of intellectual corruption is overpowering." And this is the big one. The big publication in UK is the "UK Telegraph", "This is the worst scientific scandal of our generation."

You can't play this one down. This is a huge, huge deal. The fact that they are going into an endangerment finding using this as that science, that makes it that much worse. It's a recognition that we have won and they have lost in terms of a legislative cure for this.

Your bill is dead. It's not going to go anywhere. The Boxer bill is dead and for that reason, in order to save face at the big meeting that's watching this right now in Copenhagen they had to come up with an endangerment finding. I think the first thing that's...


BLITZER: Let me just explain to our viewers that endangerment finding allowed Lisa Jackson, the head of the EPA, to say that because these greenhouse gases threaten, she says, the public health and welfare of the American people she's moving forward with these unilateral steps, avoiding Congressional action.

Is he right, Congressman, that your cap and trade legislation is dead?

MARKEY: Absolutely not. We have already passed it through the House of Representatives. The Chinese, the Indians, other countries around the world have already announced that they are going to make commitments in Copenhagen over the next two weeks to show that they are going to begin to deal with the lowering of emissions in relationship to the GDP.

And in the Senate we know that Senator Boxer, Senator Kerry are working with other members including Senator Graham and Senator Lieberman and others toward the goal of finding a pathway towards the production of final legislation.

BLITZER: So why is it dead, Senator Inhofe? Why do you think the legislation is dead for all practical purposes?

INHOFE: Because I can count votes. And so can Ed and he knows this. Barbara Boxer might have as many as maybe 25 votes right now. You'd have to have 60 votes and the trend -- time is not your friend, Ed. The more people find out about that and the more that science is drawn and more people realize this would constitute the greatest tax increase in the history of America and accomplish nothing.

That's exactly what Lisa Jackson said. If we do it unilaterally in the United States, nothing is going to happen.

BLITZER: Let me talk about money, especially during times of economic distress. The World Bank, Congressman Markey, says that developing nations will need between $75 billion to $100 billion a year -- the poorer nations -- to adapt to climate change and a lot of money is going to have to come from U.S. taxpayers. At this time of economic distress, do you support providing these countries with billions of dollars to help them deal with climate change?

MARKEY: We will have to provide some help. Those numbers, I think are way on the high side.

But let me say this quite clearly -- we only produce eight million barrels of oil a day in the United States. We import 13 million from places all around the world that we should not be importing in.

We have a chance here to begin to back out that imported oil. We have a chance here to create 1.5 million to 2 million jobs in our economy in order to create a new industrial. And I understand the fossil fuel industry is going to fight this all the way with their junk science.

But remember this, if we don't create the one million to two million green jobs in America, we are going to wind up importing the wind turbines, solar technologies from China, from Germany.

That's our choice. Back out the imported oil, improve our national security, create new jobs here while we're also reducing emissions or else we're going to wind up ultimately behind the economic...

BLITZER: Hold on one second -- Senator, any chance Congress, the Senate will fund billions of dollars to poor nations to deal with climate change? Senator?

INHOFE: Oh, no. There's no chance of that at all. In fact, I understand that the president is going there, he's going to commit us -- this is what I read in the media -- to $10 billion a year for these developing nations.

Now, stop and think about it. China already owns $800 billion of our debt and we are going to give them $10 billion to be good boys? It's not going to happen. As long as they can keep us exporting jobs to China and India and Mexico, they're going to like it the way it is.

BLITZER: I would like to invite both of you to come back next week when the president is in Copenhagen at the end of this summit to continue this debate if that's ok with both of you.

INHOFE: It's fine with me, Wolf. Keep in mind what Ed says is we right now have enough resources. If we just develop our own resources we wouldn't have to be dependent upon any country for our ability to run this machine called America.

The Democrats won't let us drill, won't let us do what's necessary to exploit our own resources.

MARKEY: Wolf, we have 3 percent of the oil in the world. We consume 25 percent on a daily basis. The math doesn't work. We need a new plan with renewable energy, technologies long-term or else we're going to get deeper and deeper into the Middle East and that's what we are debating.

This issue that we are sending more and more troops over there we have to begin ...


INHOFE: We have the largest reserves in the world.

BLITZER: We're going to continue this debate next week, gentlemen.

MARKEY: I look forward to it, Wolf.

BLITZER: Part one today, part two coming up next week. Guys thanks very much.

INHOFE: Thank you Wolf.

MARKEY: Thank you.


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