Senate GOP tries to throw cold water on Paris climate deal

Senate GOP tries to throw cold water on Paris climate deal
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Senate Republicans are trying to dampen excitement for the Paris climate change agreement, saying it is destined to fail.

In a 30-page white paper Thursday, Republicans on the Environment and Public Works Committee argued that the Paris deal is no more likely to result in major greenhouse gas emissions cuts than 1997’s Kyoto Protocol.

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“If the past is any indication, countries will or will not reduce emissions based on what is politically and economically feasible regardless of their non-binding [individual contribution] promises because of the immense damage draconian cuts in GHG emissions would have on each individual states’ population,” the white paper says.

“The American people must understand the dynamics and the hollow promises of Paris Agreement supporters, less they allow these meaningless agreements to gain credibility and cause further damage the American economy and sovereignty.”

The white paper comes a day before more than 150 countries are due to send representatives to United Nations headquarters to sign the agreement, on Earth Day. Once 55 countries representing 55 percent of global emissions sign it — as is expected tomorrow — it will take effect.

But the greenhouse gas cuts in the deal are not binding, and it is not a treaty, because that would require Senate ratification.

The white paper is just the latest in years of efforts by Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeMcCain backs Pentagon nominee despite concerns over defense industry ties GOP senators ask Trump for meeting on biofuels mandate Trump feuds endangering tax reform MORE (R-Okla.), the committee’s chairman and an outspoken climate change skeptic, to stop any international climate agreements.

“The Paris agreement, like the Kyoto agreement, is full of empty promises that will have no meaningful impact on the climate,” Inhofe said in a statement. “The problem with international climate change agreements is that they ignore basic economic and political realities and therefore are doomed to failure.”

The Obama administration argues otherwise.

“The swift action by so many countries — every climate, every size, every economy — is really a testament to the undeniable momentum coming out of Paris,” a senior administration official said this week.

“It’s spurring not only swift action on the Paris agreement itself but really continued progress on our collective efforts to move to clean energy, to low carbon, to a climate-friendly future.”