By Libby Conn– When John asked Rob Simmons this morning about any mistakes he’d made in congress as the Representative for Connecticut’s second district, Simmons pointed to his support for cap and trade legislation, saying:
Rob Simmons shows off his Barry Goldwater book - Photo by Chion Wolf
At the time that I was involved with that issue, there was a huge amount of information out in the public domain focusing on issues of climate change and global warming, etc. Over time, that information has become modified with new information and with some very disturbing news about how that data was manipulated, improperly, by folks who had a vested interest in manipulating it. And so there’s been a shift away, if you will…
But then Simmons went on to explain that it was actually his time serving as Connecticut’s Business Advocate that convinced him that a cap and trade system would result in higher energy costs for businesses in the state already struggling to operate with some of the nation’s highest rates.
JD: Are you backing away though from the idea that human activity has an impact on the climate? Do you still believe that what we do here does raise the temperature of the planet and something needs to be done about it?
RS: I think we all know that the Clean Air Act, which was signed by Richard Nixon, kind of ironic, and the creation of the EPA, created by Richard Nixon was in response to clean air issues. I mean, I’ve suffered fro asthma. So I understand how air pollution and particulate matter in the air can affect our health and our lives. And that particulate matter, in some cases, is created by human beings…the same issue goes to water. If you pollute the water and we don’t have clean water, we don’t have the opportunity to live in a quality environment. So we want to make sure the water is clean. I remember the days when the rivers of Connecticut ran different colors based on the dyes being used by the velvet mills. So there’s no question that certain human behavior causes pollution that we need to be concerned about.
JD: The idea that carbon dioxide is one of those pollutants though is something that’s changed since the Nixon administration…..Do you believe that the US moving forward needs to have controls on carbon dioxide emissions, so that the temperature of the earth does not continue to rise?
RS: We need common sense solutions and that’s why I support nuclear power.
At least one caller, Susan, was confused:
Susan: I thought that Mr. Simmons skirted the question about whether or not he accepted the science about C02 and the cause of global warming and I would like to hear a definitive answer from him because that is kind of the crux of the issue.
RS: It’s nice to have a definitive answer if there is a definitive answer….I’m not convinced there is a definitive answer I’ve read a number of books on both side of the issue and I think it’s basically part of a discussion that is ongoing….I’m continuing to educate myself on the subject and will continue to do so.
JD: You changed your stance on cap and trade, you said, because you thought it would kill business. But when you supported it at first, it must mean that you believed global warming was happening and there was a reason that we should have cap and trade at all.
RS: There was a lot of information out on the subject at the time. But in retrospect, as we update ourselves, as we live and as we learn, we’ve discovered that some of that data was manipulated and incorrect. The entity in Great Britain that was charged with millions of dollars of research on the subject concealed some of their findings, and worked to disregard people who had alternative viewpoints…..I think this issue is a developing issue where new information is being brought to bare and we have to keep our mind open to that. What really concerned me, as the Business Advocate, is that we have the highest energy costs in the continental United States. To lay another layer of cost on these companies without being certain that other countries will engage in the regime , without being certain that the science is absolutely correct, it is a job killer and we can’t afford job killers right now.
We had some tweeters take issue with Simmons’ characterization of the science and the significance of “climate-gate.”:
@wherewelive the climate change emails were shown to be innocent of what Simmons is accusing by an independent panel.
@wherewelive Simmons is just out of touch with reality w/r/t global warming. The email scandal doesn’t impact the main body of research.
In any case, it doesn’t seem that Simmons, or anyone will have an opportunity to vote on cap and trade legislation again anytime in the near future. Though the House passed legislation last year, the Senate never did so and the policy has, to a certain extent, fallen out of favor. President Obama’s most recent budget didn’t include the term at all. Read more on the demise of cap and trade in yesterday’s New York Times.