Al FrankenPhoto: Al Franken for SenateLooks like Al Franken may, at last, be sworn in as the newest senator from Minnesota, after more than seven months of litigation. The Minnesota State Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Democrat Franken narrowly won the race over incumbent Republican Norm Coleman back in November; and news breaking on the wires now says Coleman will abide by the ruling.

Grist talked with Franken during the campaign last summer. Here are a few excerpts, and you can read the whole interview.

On capping emissions:

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The 111th Congress will need to accelerate the progress on clean energy policies, by adopting legislation to cap and mandate reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions. An average reduction of 2 percent each year would achieve the goal of an 80 percent total reduction by 2050. To reach an 80 percent reduction by 2050, permits to emit carbon should be auctioned — not given away. Auctioning off permits is the most effective way to cut emissions, drive investors to clean energy options, and push the market to demand least-cost alternatives such as efficiency.

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On a global climate treaty:

We can start by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. One of the dumbest things that President Bush said — and that’s a high bar — is that Kyoto would cripple the U.S. economy. I think the opposite is true. A commitment to reducing emissions will spur the manufacturing sector to produce the necessary technologies. A recent study finds that creating the renewable energy capacity to achieve such an emission reduction would create over 18,000 jobs in Minnesota alone. We need a new global agreement on emissions and climate change and we need to engage the entire world. The only way that countries like China and India are going to come to the table on an agreement is if the United States does it first. We must return to the days when we were a shining example for the rest of the world.

Does this mean Franken would vote for a Waxman-Markey-like bill? It’s probably a safe bet, yes, but only time will tell.

Read the whole interview.

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