GOP senator says signing climate deal is 'reckless' for Obama

GOP senator says signing climate deal is 'reckless' for Obama

A Republican senator is chastising the Obama administration’s decision to sign the Paris climate agreement following the Supreme Court’s delay of its leading climate change rule.  

“I find the administration's decision on signing this, the Paris climate deal, to be nothing short of reckless,” Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoTrump’s infrastructure plan may slip to next month Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism Trump's infrastructure team to huddle with senators MORE (R-Wyo.) said during an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on Wednesday.

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“It’s like signing a loan for a luxury car after you’ve already been laid off, lost your job. Sure, it’s possible that you’ll be rehired, but there’s a strong likelihood that you’ll be out of work when the bills come due.”

The Obama administration’s top climate negotiator, Todd Stern, last week said the United States will follow through on its commitment to cut its carbon emissions under the Paris deal, regardless of the Supreme Court’s order blocking Obama’s climate rule for power plants while litigation against it moves forward.

The Clean Power Plan is the leading greenhouse gas reduction strategy for the Obama administration, which is looking to cut U.S. emissions 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025 under the Paris accord. Stern said the U.S. will sign the deal as planned in April, as he and other administration officials have looked to assuage international concerns that the U.S. might not be able to reach its goal after the climate rule’s halting.

“There are a number of programs that the U.S. had in mind in developing our commitment under the Paris agreement,” Janet McCabe, an acting assistant administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), told the committee Wednesday.

“The Clean Power Plan is not the only one. EPA is not the only actor in the space to reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gases.”

Still, Republicans and industry groups opposed to Obama’s climate work have cast doubts on whether the U.S. is able to reach its emissions goals after the climate rule’s stay. Barrasso asked McCabe Wednesday if she thinks the goal is within reach.

“I’m saying there are a number of programs already contemplated, and 2025 is plenty of time away,” she said. “I think everybody expected that there would continue to be efforts made to reduce carbon emissions.”