DeFazio: U.S. Must Regulate Carbon Emissions and 'Force' Regulation on Other Countries

By Susan Jones | January 8, 2014 | 11:47am EST

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) (AP File Photo)

( - Blasting Republican "climate-change deniers" as well as "blathering idiots on talk shows" who joked about the "Arctic vortex," Rep. Peter DeFazio urged Congress to tackle climate change in 2014. He called it one of the "biggest challenges of our time."

He wants the Obama administration to regulate carbon emissions as pollution. And "even if we take strong measures here, we've got to force those measures on other countries," he said in a five-minute speech on the House floor Wednesday.

"Now how are we going to get China and other countries lined up on this?" DeFazio asked. He called trade agreements a "strong tool" to demand reductions:

"We can't put U.S. manufacturers at a disadvantage when they are dealing with climate change issues and carbon dioxide emissions and the Chinese aren't, 'cause we live, unfortunately, on the same planet as the Chinese and they're destroying the world's climate very, very quickly. So even if we take strong measures here, we've got to force those measures on other countries," he said.

DeFazio supports a European Union measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by "scoring the dirtiest sources of fuels."  

"That would mean there would be a penalty against oil, gasoline, diesel extracted from tar sands -- the dirtiest, most polluting way to obtain oil that anyone knows of." (The largest tar-sands extraction is taking place in Canada, and a Canadian company has applied to the U.S. State Department for permission to build a cross-border pipeline extension to bring some of that tar sands oil to U.S. refineries.)

DeFazio criticized President Obama's special trade representative, Michael Froman, who is "busily undermining the president's climate change agenda" and acting "at complete odds with the Environmental Protection Agency" by trying to overturn the E.U. measures.

"The president needs to reign in his special trade rep and we need to protect and encourage the president to deal with this very serious issue."

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