Inhofe doubts climate talks will produce landmark deal

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said Monday that he doubts a United Nations climate conference will agree to terms on a large, effective greenhouse gas deal, thanks in part to Republican opposition in Congress.

“The [Conference of Parties 21] summit is full of hot air, especially when you consider that the president’s commitment lacks the support of his own government,” Inhofe said, using the formal name for the conference, in a video to a Heartland Institute gathering in Paris.


Inhofe noted that majorities of both the House and Senate oppose the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, a carbon reduction rule for power plants that lawmakers have passed resolutions against.

The plan is the cornerstone of Obama’s climate action plan, and Democrats predict it will survive the myriad of legislative and legal challenges against it. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy told The Associated Press in Paris on Monday that the plan is "alive and well" and "it's going to be the law of the land and it's going to last."

But Inhofe, as he has since the plan was finalized, said Monday he doesn’t see the rule surviving much past the Obama administration or the court system.

“These commitments the president has made in Paris aren’t going to happen. It’s just not going to happen,” he said.

Republicans have used their Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions to try to prove to international negotiators that Obama’s climate commitments don’t have broad support in the U.S.

While Obama was in Paris for the conference last week, the House approved the CRA resolutions against the rules, sending them to the White House for a certain veto.

Given Republican opposition, the Obama administration has looked to craft an international climate pact that will avoid congressional review.

But without GOP buy-in, Inhofe predicted Monday that negotiators won’t be able to come to an effective deal to cut worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.

“Without the support of Congress, the president would be limited to making a nonbonding political commitment with no means of enforcement or accountability or longevity,” Inhofe said.

“Past COPs have revealed that these meetings are not meant to produce anything substantive and I promise you that COP21 will follow suit. Nothing’s going to happen.”