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CNN "The Situation Room" - Transcripts


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BLITZER: Joining us now, two members of the House of Representatives. Marsha Blackburn is a Republican of Tennessee, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. And Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, he's the chairman of the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee of that committee.

Thanks to both of you for coming in.

Congresswoman, let me read from an Associated Press story that just moved, because I want to get your reaction. This is what they say in this AP story. "Scientists say global warming will lead to the extinction of plant and animal species, the flooding of coastal areas from rising seas, more extreme weather, more drought, and more widespread diseases."

Do you believe that?

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: You know, one of the things we have learned, especially recently after the Climategate with the e- mails, is this is an unsettled science. And one of the items that we should seek to accomplish while we are in Copenhagen is to get to the bottom of what happened with Climategate, what took place with those e-mails. Look at how we moved forward...

BLITZER: So you're not yet convinced that the Earth is warming up?

BLACKBURN: No, I am not. When it come to climate change, climate change is cyclical. That is something that we know. But are we on a trajectory toward global warming that is not reversed? No, indeed we're not.

BLITZER: And you have no doubt about that, do you, Congressman?

REP. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I have no doubt about it. Alaska is now six degrees warmer in the winter than it was 50 years. The glaciers are melting in the Himalayas and the Alps.

The Arctic ice is disappearing. The coral reefs are dying. And thousands of scientists put together the definitive study on this issue, the climate change study done by all the scientists of the world. And there they actually considered the e-mails, the subject of the e-mails that Marsha was referring to. And they dismissed those concerns as not, in fact, affecting their larger conclusion that the planet is dangerously warmer.

BLITZER: Do you concede that most scientists agree with Congressman Markey?

BLACKBURN: Many scientists have felt that the Earth was warming. But, Wolf, there are also many scientists that have come back over the past couple of years and they've said, you know what? We have entered another cooling phase.

Think about 30 years ago. We were going to be into a frozen tundra taking place across much of North America. That is something that they were expecting to see. And then the Earth started to warm.

Now, one of the things we need to look at is, when you have carbon emissions, we need to consider exactly what percentage of that is caused by mankind.

BLITZER: Because there are other causes, right?

MARKEY: Well, for millennia, there were 280 parts per million in the atmosphere of carbon. Now there are 380 million parts per million.

BLITZER: So you blame man for that?

MARKEY: Well, during -- it all happened during the industrialized period of the planet. Nine of the last 10 years have been the warmest in the history of the planet. This decade is now the warmest in the history of the planet since temperatures were measured. So the evidence is quite clear that there's a direct correlation, and the scientists of the world have reached that consensus.

BLACKBURN: Well, it depends on whose science you're looking at. NOAA may say that the past decade has been the warmest, but look at NASA. There was a report last year. 1934 I think was actually the warmest year that we had recorded. So it is an unsettled science, and I think that's one of the things that we can agree on.

BLITZER: All right. We're not going to debate the science anymore, but let's talk about the policy and the money aspect of all of this.

As we're speaking right now, the Obama administration apparently has pledged $1 billion to help protect rain forests in South America and elsewhere. A billion U.S. taxpayer dollars.

Is that money well spent?

MARKEY: It is money well spent, because if the rain forests are not protected, then the problem of global warming is unsolvable. However, the big tax on Americans on a yearly basis is the $350 billion that we pay to import oil into our country.

We give it to ExxonMobil, we give it to the Saudi Arabians. That's a billion dollars a day that leaves the pockets of American consumers that goes to Saudi Arabia and ExxonMobil. That ends with the legislation that we're considering.

BLITZER: Go ahead.

BLACKBURN: Well, one of the things the legislation -- the cap and trade legislation, or cap and tax, as I like to call it...

BLITZER: It passed the House. It's still stalled in the Senate.

BLACKBURN: ... it stalled in the Senate, and the EPA is trying to implement it through the Clean Air Act. But what it would do is make us more dependent on foreign oil and it would make it more difficult for us to move to new nuclear, to clean technologies, natural gas for transportation.

BLITZER: Because at a time of economic distress here in the United States, every dollar is precious.

BLACKBURN: Yes, it is.

BLITZER: A billion dollars right now could go a long way in education or health care, all sorts of other causes here in the United States.

MARKEY: Four dollars a gallon gasoline is the largest tax on Americans, and that's what ExxonMobil and the Saudi Arabians want to continue to have. That dwarfs anything else that happens in our economy.

Half of our trade deficit is just importing oil. That makes us hostage to Middle Eastern national security policy. And if we don't move fast, we'll wind up...


BLITZER: Hold on one second.

A lot of people suggest, as Congressman Markey and others, that the wave of future jobs are these so-called green jobs, and if the U.S. economy is going to recover, it has to look ahead to these green jobs.

BLACKBURN: And Tennessee is one of the states that holds many of thought eco-patents. But the thing is this -- are you going to punish people into submission and put all these taxes on individuals, or are you going to find ways to incentivize the growth for new technologies, new nuclear, natural gas, lithium ion batteries for cars, put it on the incentive and allow the economy to grow?

BLITZER: Go ahead, Congressman.

MARKEY: That's what our legislation does. It gives an incentive for wind, for solar, for a smart grid, for smart batteries to make this revolution, so it's made in America, not made in OPEC or made in china.


MARKEY: We finally need a plan here in our country -- we have moved from 20 percent dependence upon imported oil in 1970 to 60 percent now. That is an intolerable economic and national security position. Our bill begins to deal with it, but the ExxonMobils and Saudi Arabias are trying to block it in Copenhagen and here in the United States.

BLITZER: Unfortunately, we can't end this debate right now. It will continue, and I want to wish both of you good luck. I know you're both heading off to Copenhagen to participate in this summit with very different perspectives.

Appreciate it very much.

BLACKBURN: Thank you.

MARKEY: Thank you.


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