Joe Barton (R-Texas) spoke to the U.S. Energy Association yesterday and made it clear ($ub req’d) that he’s going to do everything he can to block cap-and-trade legislation from coming out of Congress:

As the Democrats move to pass climate change legislation this year, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, will be there to fight them, he told the U.S. Energy Assn’s annual membership meeting yesterday.

As a senior member of the House Energy Committee, that’s not a threat to be taken lightly. So why is he opposed?

As justification, he cites both his passion for economic stewardship and his scientific judgment:

Barton isn’t convinced that emissions from mankind have led to global warming and thus can’t support any bill that, as he sees it, would do severe harm to the economy.

Disappointing, but hardly atypical. Here’s where it gets interesting. One would presume that with that kind of passion for economic growth and critical concerns with scientific theory, he’d be opposed to anything that would raise energy prices in the name of lower CO2 emissions, right? Uh, no.

Barton isn’t opposed to making the energy industry cleaner through expanding nuclear power, carbon capture and storage, or renewables. But he would rather see that accomplished some other way other than passing a cap-and-trade bill that the Democrats envision.

So there you have it. Crazy, liberal, out-of-control Democrats are out to pass a bill that would put a price on carbon and let market forces figure out how to allocate capital. Clearly they don’t understand basic economics, which show that the optimal capital allocation process is one in which winners are picked by Joe.