Durbin, Cornyn on climate legislation


Senator Cornyn, how will Republicans view any presidential commitment to cut emissions and to give billions of dollars in U.S. aid to developing countries, especially in the midst of this new controversy over the science of global warming?


CORNYN: I think the cap-and-trade bill is just another job-killing proposal that will kill 313,000 jobs in my state alone in Texas. It's — the last thing we need is an additional burden on consumers and on businesses in the agricultural sector that this bill would impose, and that's really the problem.
It's not just that the president has neglected the jobs issue in order to pursue these other issues like health care expansion, government control, cap and trade. It's been that the very policies he's proposing have a negative impact on the very businesses that creates those jobs.


WALLACE: So to answer my question, how will Republicans — first of all, is cap and trade going to get passed in the next year?


CORNYN: I certainly hope not in its current form. There are better alternatives, by looking to clean energy alternatives like nuclear power and expansion of the use of natural gas, an American energy supply which is relatively cheap and available, to deal with environmental concerns.
So there are alternatives, but this cap and trade bill, as far as I'm concerned, should be dead on arrival.


WALLACE: And if the president commits the country to a level of reducing emissions and spending billions for developing countries, can he make good on that?

CORNYN: Well, we're not a dictatorship. The president can promise whatever he wants. The Congress has a role. If there's some proposed treaty, the Senate will vote on it. He can't bind the 300 million people of America. I think Congress would be required to join in in that effort in order to make that happen.

WALLACE: Senator Durbin, whatever the president announces at the summit, is there the will among Senate Democrats to pass climate change legislation and to commit billions of dollars in foreign aid to this effort at a time when we have so many other problems?


DURBIN: I don't know where you came up with that billion...


WALLACE: Billions of dollars for — to developing countries.

DURBIN: Well, let me say that at this point — let's take a...

WALLACE: That's part of what the commitment is.

DURBIN: Well, let's take a look at where we are today. As of today, we have — the two largest countries in the world, China and India, have acknowledged they need to join us in moving forward on this.

They understand the peril that we face if we don't accept the premise that there is climate change taking place, that we do have some dangers to life on earth and development as we like to see it in this country.

And I think this is an opportunity. I know that many on the Republican side don't see it as such. But if we start moving toward energy efficiency and green technology, America can become a global leader.

If we ignore it, put our head in the sand, we're going to find countries like China leap-frogging us, moving forward. That's going to create jobs for China, but not for America.

I think this is a job creator. It not only reduces the likelihood of danger from climate change, it creates an economic opportunity. There are many ways to write this bill.

Senator John Kerry is now leading our effort in the Senate, and I think President Obama with his appearance at Copenhagen is confirming the fact that we as a nation want to be part of this global strategy.

WALLACE: So is legislation going to be passed — cap and trade legislation in the Senate — in 2010? And will the — will you — will the Democrats support giving billions of dollars to developing countries to help them reduce emissions?

DURBIN: You know, you are presupposing many things about what this bill might contain.

What I will tell you is that I believe we will address this issue. We will create opportunities for job creation in new green technology, clean technology and clean energy opportunities.

I think that is the future for the world, and America should be leading.