Murphy critical of Foreign Relations colleagues

Washington — When it comes to engaging the rest of the world on the issue of climate change, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy does not have a lot of faith in his fellow members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. They are out of sync with public opinion, he said.

“This used to be the home of [moderate Indiana Republican Sen.] Dick Lugar; it is now the home of Rand Paul,” he said, referring to the conservative Kentucky senator. “You now have the Foreign Relations Committee being a place where isolationists want to be rather than internationalists.”

Murphy, a Democrat, made the comments as the guest speaker on a panel about climate change at the Center for International Policy.

He said there’s no will in Congress, especially among Republican lawmakers, to pass legislation addressing climate change, and that it will take years for Capitol Hill to “catch up” to public opinion on the issue.

“We’re the only nation still discussing the science” of climate change, Murphy said.

He proposed “short-term” solutions that aren’t political. They include pressing for new ways to treat municipal waste to reduce methane gas emissions and seeking better methods to prevent hydrofluorocarbon leakage from air conditioning systems.

He also said climate change hit home in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

“I come from a state with pretty serious water exposure, and we have seen the wrath of climate change,” Murphy said.