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Senator Ed Markey to co-chair climate forum

WASHINGTON— Senator Edward J. Markey has been named to be the lead co-chair of the Climate Change Clearinghouse, a Senate discussion group that gives lawmakers a forum to consider efforts to curb global warming.

The move signals that the Massachusetts Democrat -- despite his freshman status -- will have a chance to pick up where he left off in the House, where he was a leading voice among lawmakers on the issue.

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The appointment was announced on Wednesday by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Democrats Barbara Boxer of California, the chairwoman of Environment and Public Works, and Ron Wyden of Oregon, chairman of the Energy Committee, will co-chair the forum with Markey. The group seeks to encourage collaboration on climate between those committees and the Foreign Relations Committee, of which Markey is a member.

“The dangers of climate change are clear. The costs to the United States are real. And the need for action from the public, businesses and government is urgent,’’ Markey said in a written statement.

Markey joined the Senate in July, and since then, the Senate has only been in session for a few weeks, so he has not been able to join in these forums much in his new role. Still, his spokesman, Eben Burnham-Snyder, said Markey is looking forward to it as part of his “moral duty” not only for the environment, but also for the economic opportunities that clean energy provides.

“The Senate Climate Clearinghouse is tackling the most important environmental issue of our time and I can’t think of anyone better than Senator Markey to chair it,” Wyden said in the statement. “He’s a proven leader on climate in the House and his experience, knowledge and passion will be a valuable addition to our efforts.”

Markey focused on energy policy during his career in the House from 1976 to 2013, serving on the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Natural Resources Committee. Burnham-Snyder said Markey sees this forum as a something that will outlast today’s partisan political climate.

“It’s hard to predict what Republicans will do in the Senate these days,” Burnham-Snyder said. “It doesn’t mean that climate change is going away.”

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