Paris Climate Change Conferenceby Senator John Barrasso
Posted on 2015-12-09
BARRASSO. Mr. President, this week the United Nations climate
change conference is continuing in Paris. I understand over the weekend
a number of Democrats went to Paris to watch a part of the discussion.
I have been talking to folks back home in Wyoming about this climate conference and what the Democrats are proposing, and I will tell you, the people in Wyoming are not happy. They are not happy about President Obama's plan to destroy American energy jobs and also to destroy the communities that depend on these jobs.
They are not happy about the President's plan to give away billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to other countries. They are not happy about the President's plan to ignore the will of the American people and to sign an expensive, destructive treaty on climate change in Paris. That is what they think the President is planning to do, and I believe they are exactly right.
Last Friday, the Foreign Relations subcommittee that I chair released a new report called ``Senate Outlook on United States International Strategy on Climate Change in Paris 2015,'' a new report on President Obama's plan to bypass Congress and transfer American taxpayer funds overseas. This report shows how President Obama is supporting an effort to bypass Congress and to sign a climate deal that gives money to developing nations.
The subcommittee report found four things.
First, the report says that the President is making false promises to other countries about his ability to meet his own greenhouse gas reduction targets. President Obama has promised to cut back American energy production dramatically. The administration is pushing powerplant regulations that will destroy jobs and make electricity more expensive and less reliable. Bipartisan majorities in Congress, in the House and in the Senate, have rejected these regulations. President Obama wants to use this international agreement to force new regulations on the American people.
This administration has been doing all that it can to cripple American energy producers all across the country. It has piled new regulations on coal producers. It is blocking exports of American crude oil and liquefied natural gas. It set emission standards that are designed to put powerplants out of business, and that is the second thing that the report found--that the President's unrealistic targets and timetables for reducing targeted emissions are threatening jobs and threatening communities all across America.
The third main point in this report is that the President is forcing American taxpayers to pay for it--to pay for our past economic successes through his contributions to the so-called Green Climate Fund. I did a townhall event the other day in Wyoming and asked what they thought about the President's plan of using their taxpayer dollars in this way, and 94 percent of the people in the townhall said they opposed President Obama's plan to send their hard-earned taxpayer dollars to the United Nations climate slush fund.
President Obama doesn't care. He says he wants the money anyway. He knows American emissions have actually been declining over the last decade. He knows we are not the biggest source of carbon dioxide in the world. Far more emissions are coming from developing countries. We see it in China; we see it in India. Those countries say that if they are going to cut their emissions, if they are going to be part of President Obama's plan, somebody else is going to have to pay up. They expect developed countries such as the United States to foot the bill.
How much money do they want? What are we talking about? So far, developing countries have said they want--the number is astonishing--at least $5.4 trillion--not million, not billion, but trillion. That is what 73 developing countries are demanding over the next 15 years. It doesn't even count another 90 developing countries that haven't made their demands public yet. The reality is a great deal of this money is going to end up lining the pockets of government officials in these developing countries. The American people know it. They see through it, even though the Obama administration will not admit it.
That brings up the fourth thing that this report found. Our subcommittee found that the President plans to reach a climate change deal that ignores the American people and cuts them out of the process entirely. The American public doesn't want these policies. Congress has passed laws to change these policies. The Obama administration just goes on and on and makes the rules that it wants anyway. This administration refuses to have accountability to the American people.
What are we talking about with regard to the money? It is interesting because just today, this morning from Paris, there is a report from the New York Times: ``U.S. Proposes Raising Spending on Climate-Change Adaptation.'' Here is the byline from France: In an effort to help smooth the passage of a sweeping new climate accord here this week, Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Wednesday a proposal to double its grant-based public finance for climate-change adaptation. . . . Mr. Kerry's announcement came as the momentum toward a deal appeared to have hit a momentary snag.
Why? Well, reading further: ``The issue of money has been a crucial sticking point in the talks, as developing countries demand that richer countries open up their wallets. . . . '' So John Kerry is there to open up the wallet of the American taxpayers--because it is not his money--doubling what he is offering, to try to buy a solution that he wants to accomplish even though it is directly in opposition to the American public. This administration, President Obama and Secretary Kerry, are out of touch with the American people, who reject this expensive and destructive energy and climate policy.
The Obama administration is also out of touch with the rest of the world. The Obama administration says that some parts of the agreement reached in Paris will be legally binding and other parts will not because, obviously, we are the Congress. We are the elected representatives of the American people, and we have a say. So the President is saying that parts of the agreement are binding and parts are not. China says the whole thing is binding. The European Union says the entire thing is binding. Who is right? President Obama or the rest of the world? The Obama administration says it is going to give billions of our taxpayer dollars to these countries, including to a lot of countries that don't like us very much. That doesn't seem to matter to the President. The developing countries say they want trillions. John Kerry is in Paris today, doubling the amount of money, doubling to try to buy support for something the American people don't support.
It is interesting because, if you think back just a couple of months, President Obama was frantic--desperate--to get a deal with Iran over its nuclear programs because of his legacy. He signed a terrible deal-- by all accounts, a terrible deal.
Now he is doing it again. He is once again frantic, once again desperate, to get a climate deal in Paris. Why? Because of his so- called legacy. He is planning once again to sign a terrible deal, and he has his Secretary of State, John Kerry, there giving the speeches and making promises that the American public will have to pay for if they get their way.
Iran says it will play the Obama administration's game on emissions and reduce its carbon emissions as the President wants, but before it does, it expects the Obama administration to lift all of the remaining sanctions from the Iranian deal. It wants the United States and other countries to give them $840 billion over the next 15 years. That is what is at stake, and those are the things the President continues to give away as he surrenders our energy security, our energy reliability, our energy jobs--a surrender by the President. He is desperate for approval by the other countries when he should be focusing on the United States. He seems to want to promise any policy, pledge any amount of money to get it, but the American people oppose sending their money to a United Nations climate slush fund. As their elected representatives, Congress must not allow the President to continue to try to buy popularity for himself using American taxpayer dollars.
Congress must not allow the President to use this meeting in Paris to advance his own legacy at the expense of [[Page S8521]] the American people and the American economy.
Thank you, Mr. President.