According to the Huffington Post, if anyone thought the announcement of a bilateral U.S.-China climate agreement on Wednesday might lead to a breakthrough on climate policy in Washington, Senate Republicans would like to inform them otherwise.
The presumptive Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said he was “distressed” by the U.S.-China deal, arguing that it “requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years while these carbon emission regulations are creating havoc in my state and other states around the country.”
Does this mean that McConnell feels there should be more stringent regulations on China, or no regulations on his state? He failed to address that topic.
President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the agreement on Wednesday. Under the deal, the U.S. will aim to cut emissions 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025, and China will reach its peak emissions by 2030. This was heralded as a major breakthrough on the path to a global climate agreement.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the chamber’s most vocal climate change denier and the likely new chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, took to the Senate floor Wednesday, criticizing the agreement for allowing China years before it begins to reduce emissions, and casting doubt that it ever would. “Even if they did agree to reducing emissions, we wouldn’t believe them,” said Inhofe. “They don’t end up doing what they say their going to do in these agreements.”
Oddly, Senator Inhofe is set to be the new chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Republicans also plan to take steps to gut the Environmental Protection Agency.
According to MSNBC, when asked the other day about his goals for the next Congress, McConnell (R-Ky.) said his top priority is “to try to do whatever I can to get the EPA reined in.”
Coral Davenport reported earlier this week that GOP leaders are united behind a vision intended to undermine EPA regulations:
“The new Republican Congress is headed for a clash with the White House over two ambitious Environmental Protection Agency regulations that are the heart of President Obama’s climate change agenda.
“At this point, Republicans do not have the votes to repeal the E.P.A. regulations, which will have far more impact on curbing carbon emissions than stopping the [Keystone] pipeline, but they say they will use their new powers to delay, defund and otherwise undermine them.”
Senator Inhofe is expected to open investigations into the E.P.A., call for cuts in its funding and delay the regulations as long as possible.
“Mr. McConnell signaled last week that he, too, wanted to cut the E.P.A.’s budget to keep it from enforcing environmental regulations. Republicans might also include provisions that would repeal the E.P.A. regulations in crucial spending bills – a tactic that could force a standoff between Mr. Obama and Mr. McConnell over funding the government.”