But climate change, which cap-and-trade means to mitigate, has only two major poles: either humankind is contributing to it or humankind is not contributing to it. Presumably, another perspective might be that there is a human contribution but it is not determinative, but you don’t hear that one so much.
We found House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) rather endearing in his attempt, on ABC’s This Week, to pound all these poles efficiently into the ground.
[George] 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.
Well, no denying that. While we imagine Boehner is exaggerating or aiming at a metaphor when he calls carbon emissions carcinogens – they’re not - we take away from this that he does not feel people are contributing to the problem.
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.
Okay, he does believe it’s an issue. If we’re understanding correctly, his major concern is that a solution should not be blindingly expensive nor should it send jobs overseas. This seems a bit boilerplate, since exporting jobs is a non-functional part of the equation and characterizing cap-and-trade as a tax is not exactly on the nose. But taxes and exporting jobs are reliable alarm bells, so why not ring them?
We’re not really trying to get on Boehner’s case here. We do want to demonstrate the verbiage that precedes a real debate on an issue. We’re not even sure Boehner has sorted out how much he should be for or against anything except insofar as he is in the minority party.
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.
In other words, wait and see. Well, fine, we may have hoped for a more coherent view of the issues, but we’ll wait and see.
Rep. John Boehner.