House GOP leader Boehner on ABC: “The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical.”

House Minority Leader John Boehner is a traditional anti-science conservative. His exchange Sunday with George Stephanopoulos (transcript here, reprinted below) is still notable for his utter lack of understanding of even the basics of the climate issue. Boehner said:

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

Almost comical? How about completely tragic?

One of the GOP’s senior leaders thinks this debate is about whether carbon dioxide is a carcinogen? And thinks carcinogens harm the environment, rather than people? And thinks that cows are of concern because they produce carbon dioxide, rather than methane?


It bears repeating: Anti-science conservatives are now the cement shoes on the American people, pulling us down into the ocean hot, acidic dead zone.

Stephanopoulos deserves praise for this extended questioning on the climate issue. Not only do we learn Boehner is utterly ignorant of climate basics. We also see how he contradicts himself repeatedly in an effort to push out all the standard conservative disinformer talking points on global warming. On the one hand, carbon dioxide is something we exhale, not something harmful to the environment, but on the other hand, we can only solve this “problem” as one nation, if we “work with other industrialized nations around the world.”

But if it’s not a problem caused by humans, then how could humans possibly solve it whether we work with other countries are not? That’s the beauty of not caring about science or logic. You can spew out all of your disinformation, and different pieces that can stick to different people.

Here is 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.

It always bears repeating that conservatives have always bitterly opposed Congressional efforts to boost green energy (see “Hill conservatives reject all 3 climate strategies”). Indeed, even “moderate” conservatives like McCain and Gregg have always opposed even the mildest of green energy mandates “” a national requirement that utilities get a fraction of their power from renewable energy, a requirement that half the states and every major European Union member country has (see “The greenwasher from Arizona has a record as dirty as the denier from Oklahoma” and “Is a possible 60th Senate seat worth a not-very-green GOP Commerce Secretary?”).

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.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it sounds like from what you’re saying that you don’t believe that Republicans need to come up with a plan to control carbon emissions? You’re suggesting it’s not that big of a problem, even though the scientific consensus is that it has contributed to the climate change.

BOEHNER: I think it is — I think it is an issue. The question is, what is the proper answer and the responsible answer?

STEPHANOPOULOS: And what is the answer? That’s what I’m trying to get at.

BOEHNER: George, I think everyone in America is looking for the proper answer. We don’t want to raise taxes, $1.5 to $2 trillion like the administration is proposing, and we don’t want to ship millions of American jobs overseas. And so we’ve got to find ways to work toward this solution to this problem without risking the future for our kids and grandkids.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you are committed to coming up with a plan?

BOEHNER: I think you’ll see a plan from us. Just like you’ve seen a plan from us on the stimulus bill and a better plan on the budget.

Yeah, the GOP will have a plan to deal with global warming. If you believe that, I have some toxic assets you can buy for 90% of face value.


I must say the most pathetic thing about this interview is his claim that the GOP approach is the one that isn’t “risking the future for our kids and grandkids.” Not (see House GOP pledge to fight all action on climate. “Why do conservatives hate your children?”).

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