David and I caught up with Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) yesterday to talk about climate and energy politics, and the prospects for next Congress. Bingaman is the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. We caught him after he appeared on a panel on “The Future of Environmentalism.”

Bingaman stuck to a pragmatic line in his brief talk with Grist, insisting that it would be “presumptuous” for Congress to enact legislation in 2009 that pretends to know what the United States’s energy needs will be in 2050. Likewise, he said the Senate would avoid legislation that would “dramatically” raise Americans’ utility bills.

Here’s the video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NloxN9S-5ps&feature=player_embedded]