The Commerce Department is running away from Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke's statement this past weekend in China. While there, the Wall Street Journal reports, Locke said the United States should pay for China's carbon emissions.
In his own words, Locke said:
“It’s important that those who consume the products being made all around the world to the benefit of America — and it’s our own consumption activity that’s causing the emission of greenhouse gases, then quite frankly Americans need to pay for that.”
In other words, China would have to do no carbon emission offsets. American consumers instead would cover the costs because China is making products for us.
That was Locke in his own words. We don't always articulate what we mean. None of us do. Sometimes we say things we don't mean. The problem for Locke is that the idea is gaining steam among prominent global warming priests that the administration pays attention to.
Not willing to let Locke's comment become a distraction, his office later put a smoke screen around his comments, telling the Wall Street Journal
“Secretary Locke has been very clear on emphasizing the importance of fair trade as a part of the United States’ relationship with China. He believes U.S. companies should not be disadvantaged by Chinese imports not bound by responsible policies to reduce carbon emissions. China and the US must work together to ensure a level playing field and reduce our carbon footprints. The Secretary’s trip to China demonstrated his commitment to fair trade and his belief that both the United States and China can benefit from shared investments and cooperation in clean energy that will lead to commercial and environmental benefits for both countries.”
Of course, they did not actually deny that Gary Locke said what he said and meant what he meant.