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  • Paris Climate Change Agreement

    by Senator James M. Inhofe

    Posted on 2015-12-16

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    INHOFE. Mr. President, this past weekend, the officials from the administration traveled 3,800 miles to Paris to attend the international climate negotiations in Paris. As a reminder, this is a program that has been going on now for 21 years. The ones who started this whole idea that the world is coming to an end because of global warming came from the United Nations.

    I have gone to several of these meetings. I didn't go to this one because even John Kerry, our Secretary of State, said publicly that there is not going to be anything binding. If there is nothing binding, then why are they even there? In fact, it was interesting because when he made that statement, President Hollande of France was outraged. He said: He must have been confused when he said that. But that changed the whole thing. It was on November 11 that he made that statement.

    Anyway, they went ahead and they had their 21st annual conference. I remember one of them I went to. I ran into a friend of mine from a West African country.

    I said: Luke, what are you doing here? Why are you over here? You don't believe all this stuff, do you, on global warming? He said: No, but we stand to be able to bring back literally billions of dollars to Benin, West Africa. Besides that, this is the biggest party of the year.

    The worst thing they said happened at the South America meeting 3 years ago was they ran out of caviar. Anyway, we are paying for all that stuff. When they went over and said that wonderful things were going to happen in Paris, we knew it wasn't going to happen.

    The COP21 conference has nothing do with saving the environment. With no means of enforcement and no guarantee of funding as developed countries had hoped, the deal will not reduce emissions and it will have no impact on global temperatures.

    When they say they had this historic meeting, everyone was scratching their heads wondering: What happened? Did they win anything at all? James Hansen is the scientist who is credited with being the father of global warming. I can remember when I got involved with the issue when they came back from Kyoto and wanted to ratify a treaty, and that was at the turn of the century, 1998. James Hansen has been working on global warming--he is a NASA scientist--for years. It goes all the way back to the eighties. He characterized what happened in an interview he had with the British newspaper the Guardian. He said the agreement is a fraud. Here is the guy who is the father of global warming, and he said it is a fraud and it doesn't accomplish anything. This is likely because the only guaranteed outcome from the Paris agreement is continued growth in emissions.

    According to a study from the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, global emissions will increase by 63 percent through--that is assuming that everyone complies with their commitments, which obviously they will not and they can't--global emissions will increase by 63 percent through 2050 compared to the year 2010. By the end of this century, the MIT study projects, temperatures--if they were successful--would only be reduced by 0.2 degrees Celsius.

    Even the 26 to 28 percent greenhouse gas emission reductions which President Obama committed to on this agreement is really a fraud. There is an environmentalist witness who came before our committee. He was the Sierra Club's former general counsel, and his name is David Bookbinder. He testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works committee--the one that I chair--this year saying that the President's power plan does not add up to the 26 to 28 percent target; it is totally unattainable.

    When asked to explain the targets in corresponding regulatory actions to Congress, the key administration officials refused to do that.

    In fact, something happened. It may be the first time this has happened. People wonder how the unelected bureaucracies go off and do things that are not in keeping with the majority of the American people, and we see this all the time. To preclude that from happening, every bureaucracy has a committee in the Senate and in the House that is supposed to be watching what they are doing and they are supposed to be overseeing. They have jurisdiction, just like my committee has jurisdiction over the EPA. I tried to get them to come in and tell us when it was announced by President Obama that they were going to propose the 26 to 28 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2025, and they refused to testify.

    I would ask the Chair, in the years you have been here, have you ever seen a bureaucracy refuse to come before the committee that has the jurisdiction? They did. We are the authority in Congress to approve such--it has not only not pledged the money that has been committed as our price to pay, we haven't actually appropriated any money at all.

    So while proclaimed as historic, this agreement did little to overcome the longstanding obstacle that has plagued international climate agreements from the start where responsibility is unequally divided between the developed and the developing world.

    I can remember back in about 1999, I guess it was, around the Kyoto time, we had a vote here, and I was involved in that vote. It was called the Chuck Hagel and Bob Byrd vote. It said that if you come back from any of these places where you are putting this together with a treaty--whether it is Kyoto or another treaty--we will not vote to ratify a treaty that either is bad for the economy of America or doesn't treat China and the developing countries the same as it treats us. That passed 95 to 0. So when they go over and come back, it is dead on arrival. The thing is, everyone knows it except for the 192 countries that were over there. So we can't figure out why they would call this a historic event.

    While the administration is pushing forward with economically disastrous climate regulations before the end of his Presidency, China gets to continue business as usual, including emissions growth through 2030--each year. That is about 15 years of increase. They [[Page S8716]] came back saying: Well, we have to increase our CO2 emissions for 15 more years.

    Yesterday morning, just 3 days after India signed off on the final Paris agreement, the Guardian--that is the big newspaper in London-- reported that India is targeting to more than double its output of 1.5 billion tons through 2020 because ``coal provides the cheapest energy for rapid industrialization that would lift millions out of poverty.'' At the historic meeting they had, the top official from India's Coal Ministry said: Our dependence on coal will continue. There are no other alternatives available.

    India is not alone; there are numerous other countries that will continue to do that.

    Even though the temperature level set is misleading, a 1.5-degree cap on global temperature increase is no more realistic or technologically feasible than the 2 degrees they used before this.

    The fine print remains the same. For any agreement to have legal significance within the United States, it has to be ratified by the Senate. People in other countries don't know that. They think someone, particularly a very strong President like President Obama--that he can just pretty much mandate anything he wants. It doesn't work that way in the United States.

    In what was literally the final hour--this is very interesting--they had to delay the announcement of their agreement by 2 hours because they wanted to make one change in the agreement. They had language that said ``developed country''--that is us, the United States--``parties shall continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide. . . .'' and then explained how to do it. They wanted to replace the ``shall'' with ``should'' because they discovered in their discussions that if they left ``shall'' in there, it would have to come to the U.S. Senate for ratification, and they would all be embarrassed because we would know what the results of that would be.

    Missing from the administration's top 21 celebratory speeches is the fact that neither the American people nor the U.S. Senate supports the international agreement and that the centerpiece regulatory commitment--the so-called Clean Power Plan--faces significant legal obstacles in the Congress--in fact, not just obstacles, but it has already been voted on. There is a CRA--that is the Congressional Review Act--and the Congressional Review Act is saying that we are going to reject the Clean Power Plan, and it passed with an overwhelming majority of Democrats and Republicans in the House. What they agreed on has already been rejected.

    Missing from almost all of the Paris agreement coverage before and after is that the basis for this agreement is not scientific but political. Ninety percent of the scientists do not believe the world is coming to an end because of global warming, as environmental NGOs and the U.S. administration officials claim.

    A Wall Street Journal op-ed examined what constituted this misrepresentation of 97 percent. We always hear that 97 percent of the scientists say that this is true; it must be true. Anytime you have something that is unpopular, if you keep saying over and over again that the science is settled, a lot of people out there believes it is. But when they did the analysis of the 97 percent consensus and explained it, it was simply based on fractions of respondents. For example, in a commonly cited 2009 survey of over 3,100 respondents, only 79 were counted because they claimed their expertise was solely climate-related.

    Well, the 97 percent consensus was reviewed just a few weeks ago by one of the news stations in their poll---- The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.

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