Inhofe Statement on Final COP21 Climate Deal

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today released a statement on the final climate “agreement” at the 21st session of the Conference of Parties (COP21) pursuant to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris, France:

Despite this administration’s desperate effort to demonstrate an international agreement on climate change, the announcement of a final climate deal from Paris is no more significant to the United States than the Kyoto Protocol announcement 18 years ago.  While the Clinton administration also signed that agreement, it was never submitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification, and instead the U.S. Senate passed a resolution against the agreement by a vote of 95-0. 

“The news remains the same.  This agreement is no more binding than any other ‘agreement’ from any Conference of the Parties over the last 21 years.  Senate leadership has already been outspoken in its positions that the United States is not legally bound to any agreement setting emissions targets or any financial commitment to it without approval by Congress.  China, the largest carbon dioxide emitter will continue to emit for the next 15 years before even considering taking any action.  India, the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide continues to condition its commitments on getting trillions of dollars from developed nations.

“The ‘agreement’ calls for different  standards of transparency between developed and developing countries and even expects that developed countries will set economy wide emission reduction targets while developing countries like China and India can play it by ear.  What is significant for the United States is that we can expect the administration to cite this ‘agreement’ as their excuse for establishing emission targets for every sector of the U.S. economy not only including utilities, but petroleum refining, all manufacturing, agriculture, and others.

“The ‘agreement’ in Paris expects countries to submit their international commitments to outline how they will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, except for China which gets extra time, to keep temperatures below an arbitrarily decided temperature level increase and review those efforts every five years.  The administration has continued to fail to explain to the American people what greenhouse gas emission reductions account for the United States’ commitment of a 26-28 percent reduction.

“The ‘agreement’ sets an effort towards a 1.5 degree cap on increase is no more realistic or technologically feasible than two degrees simply because it’s in the document.  The agreement further provides that developed countries like the United States shall provide financial resources to assist developing countries with no specificity despite ‘requesting expedited funds through the Green Climate Fund’ to which this administration has committed the U.S. to a $3 billion contribution.  Congress, where authority to approve such an expenditure exists, has appropriated zero dollars.

“The ‘agreement’ calls for technology sharing and financing to be simply consistent with the 1992 UNFCCC to which the United States is already a party.  However, it does call for an accounting mechanism and different standards for transparency between developed and developing countries with a technical expert review of each party’s international commitment.  Once again, this administration is all too eager for the international community to review its commitments before even revealing those commitments to the American people.

“The Senate EPW Committee will continue oversight of the president’s climate agenda and the final Paris climate ‘agreement.’ Many questions have remained unanswered since the administration refused to testify in October to its plans to meet emissions reduction targets. I will invite key administration officials from EPA, CEQ and the State Department to testify early next year to assess the Senate’s role and explain what exactly this final agreement means for the American people.”



On Dec. 1, Inhofe unveiled a White Paper put together by Senate EPW Committee Majority staff to provide the first comprehensive account of the Senate’s legislative and oversight efforts during the 114th Congress to set the record straight on the Obama administration’s misguided climate agenda in the context of historical international agreements and negotiations leading up to the 21st session of the Conference of Parties (COP21) pursuant to the UNFCCC in Paris, France from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, 2015.

On Nov. 30, Inhofe had an op-ed published with CNN called, “Beware of Empty Climate Promises.”

On Nov. 19, Inhofe and Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), introduced a bipartisan resolution expressing the sense of the Senate with regard to any agreement reached at the 21st session of the Conference of Parties pursuant to the UNFCCC held this December. The purpose of the resolution is to further inform the international community of the U.S. Senate’s respective role.

On Nov. 19, Inhofe and Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and their colleagues sent a letter to the president encouraging U.S. negotiators to be forthcoming to foreign counterparts of Congress’s role over the Green Climate Fund and any binding agreement.

On Nov. 18, Hofstra University Professor of Law, Julian Ku, testified that the president could not legally bind the United States to make emission reduction targets through a sole executive agreement and that any attempt to suggest otherwise could result in “misleading foreign governments” or “violat[ing] the Constitution.”  Oren Cass, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute highlighted how the UN negotiations ultimately are an attempt to redistribute developed countries cash in the form of “climate finance,” which the U.S. congress can “strongly resist.” Mr. Stephen Eule, vice president of Climate and Technology at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy, revealed that other countries’ INDCs are nothing more than business as usual since developing countries have a much greater interest in “pursing economic growth and poverty eradication than … reducing GHG emissions.”

On Nov. 17, the U.S. Senate voted to disapprove of President Obama’s signature legacy regulation on global warming in S.J.Res. 23 and S.J.Res. 24. S.J.Res. 23 was introduced by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and S.J.Res. 24 was introduced by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

On July 8, Mr. David Bookbinder, former Sierra Club chief climate counsel, testified before the U.S. Senate EPW Committee, that the president’s goal would fall dramatically short of meeting the president’s target to cut emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. Even the minority witness from the World Resources Institute admitted that additional actions would have to take place, which former EPA Air Administrator, Jeff Holmstead suggested would likely come through “a greater regulatory burden on rural America” in the form of agriculture and other industrial regulations. 

On July 8, Inhofe led ten Senators in a letter to President Obama requesting a detailed response for how the U.S. will plan to meet a pledge of 26-28 percent emissions reduction by 2025, as represented by the INDC submitted to the UNFCCC. Senators are still awaiting the president’s response.

On Feb. 2, Inhofe released a statement on the president’s budget proposal, in which Inhofe said, “I will not support any special funds, including the $500 million for the Green Climate Fund, to further [the president’s] climate agenda that is eroding states’ rights and making it unnecessarily difficult to do business in America.”