Graham flashback: “The idea of not pricing carbon, in my view, means you’re not serious about energy independence.”
This is the time, this is the Congress, and this is the moment. So if we retreat and try to just go to the energy only approach which will never yield the legislative results that I want on energy independence, then we just made the problem worse (2/3/10)
In one of the fastest wholesale flip-flops in Senate history, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has rejected his own climate bill and embraced an energy-only bill — just months after declaring such an approach intellectually dishonest and worse than meaningless. The Politico reports this morning:
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who had earlier unsuccessfully negotiated to be part of the Kerry-Lieberman(-Graham) climate change bill, will join Sen. Dick Lugar at a presser at 2:15 p.m. in the Senate Radio-TV gallery today to announce his support of the “Lugar Practical Energy and Climate Plan.” Big mo? Following today’s introduction, more Republicans and Democrats are expected to join the growing momentum for Lugar’s bill.
- Graham: “The idea of not pricing carbon, in my view, means you’re not serious about energy independence. The odd thing is you’ll never have energy independence until you clean up the air, and you’ll never clean up the air until you price carbon.“
- Lindsey Graham: “Every day that we delay trying to find a price for carbon is a day that China uses to dominate the green economy”
- Stick a fork in the energy-only bill: Lindsey Graham (R-SC) slams push for a “half-assed energy bill”
You can read about Lugar’s bill here: Lugar’s energy plan is far too little, far too late. Graham had become increasingly incoherent in recent weeks (see Bingaman slams Graham’s climate bill incoherence: “I can’t keep up with his various conditions.” (5/24) and Lindsey Graham says, “yeah,” there’s a chance for climate to move forward this year (4/29). And now as CongressDaily, he’s abandoned his own bill:
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., today said he would vote against a climate change strategy he helped develop with Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., citing new changes that further restrict offshore oil and gas drilling and the bill’s impact on the transportation sector.
AS Grist just puts it, “Graham says he won’t vote for the climate bill he wrote”:
Yes, you read that right: He says he’s bailing from the bill because, in the wake of one of the greatest offshore oil drilling disasters of all time, a bill devoted to reducing climate pollution does not expand offshore oil drilling enough. Such is the Bizarro World of the U.S. Senate. Graham offers some other justifications for bailing, but as Brad says, they are transparently ridiculous — mostly objecting to provisions of the bill that he was instrumental in shaping. He’s retreating to the now-familiar Republican position of “we need to start over,” which is their way of opposing everything without looking totally nihilistic. He’s also saying some borderline-denialist (but mostly just incoherent) things about climate change, as Kate Sheppard details.
Indeed, Brad Plumer notes:
Again, once upon a time, Graham was saying stuff like this: “All the cars and trucks and plants that have been in existence since the Industrial Revolution, spewing out carbon day-in and day-out, will never convince me that’s a good thing for your children and the future of the planet.” But never say never. Here’s Graham today: “We can have a debate about global warming, and I’m not in the camp that believes man-made emissions are contributing overwhelmingly to global climate change, but I do believe the planet is heating up.” That was fast.
Graham is a one-man flip-flop machine — see Graham says GOP should stop demonizing climate change: You’re risking “your party’s future with younger people” by calling it a “hoax.” Let’s end with some more statements this year showing just how intellectually hypocritical he has become:
- “To jump-start nuclear power, wind and solar and the green economy, you’ve got to price carbon,” Graham told reporters today. “How you do it is subject to discussion and open debate. But the idea of not pricing carbon, in my view, means you’re not serious about energy independence. The odd thing is you’ll never have energy independence until you clean up the air, and you’ll never clean up the air until you price carbon.” (1/28)
- “Six months ago my biggest worry was that an emissions deal would make American business less competitive compared to China,” said Senator Lindsay Graham, a Republican from South Carolina who has been deeply involved in climate change issues in Congress. “Now my concern is that every day that we delay trying to find a price for carbon is a day that China uses to dominate the green economy.” He added: “China has made a long-term strategic decision and they are going gang-busters.” (1/31)
And finally Graham’s remarks in early February to Business Advocacy Day for Jobs, Climate & New Energy Leadership in DC:
Every day we wait in this nation China is going to eat our lunch. The Chinese don’t need 60 votes. I guess they just need 1 guys vote over there – and that guy’s voted.
He has decided to do two things:
first, kind of play footsie with us on emissions control stuff but go like gangbusters when it comes to producing alternative energy. The solar and wind and battery-powered cars is an amazing thing to watch. And we’re stuck in neutral here.
So my message to you – you’re up here to advocate – advocate. Let the Congress know that you want a comprehensive approach to two serious problems.
You don’t have to believe that Iowa is going to become beachfront property to want to clean up carbon.
It is not about polar bears to me, it’s about jobs. I like the polar bears as much as anyone else but I want to create jobs.
If just a fraction of what is being predicted about global warming is true, that’s enough to motivate us all. But if worse thing you did – as Tony Blair would say – is you provided a cleaner environment, I don’t think you’d go down in history in a bad way.
The key in my view to those who believe we should address carbon pollution is to make sure that the energy initiatives that will get us there are done in a package.
If you break this apart you’ll have a watered down solution on both fronts
health care was big – it was controversial – I didn’t like the bill – but that doesn’t mean you can’t do other hard problems.
If lesson from health care is let’s not do anything hard, then why don’t we all go home, which might be good for the country by the way.
But if we go home, China won’t.
The world is moving, pollution is growing, we’ve got a chance to get ahead and lead. If we wait too long and if we try to take half measures as the preferred route on all these hard problems they just get worse.
My challenge to you and to myself is to not let this moment pass. This is the best opportunity I’ve seen in my political lifetime for a Republican and Democrat to do something bold and meaningful.
Why did I get involved in this? I ask myself that a lot. I saw an opportunity. I’ve become convinced that carbon pollution is a bad thing, not a good thing, and it can be dealt with, and we can create jobs
This is the time, this is the Congress, and this is the moment. So if we retreat and try to just go to the energy only approach which will never yield the legislative results that I want on energy independence, then we just made the problem worse.
What Congress is going to come up here and do all these hard things?
Who are these people in the future?
Because we constantly count on them.
I don’t know who they are. I’ve yet to find them.
So I guess it falls to me and you.
So let’s do it.