As Prepared for Delivery:
This month, leaders from around the world will meet in New York to sign the Paris climate agreement – an agreement that hinges entirely on President Obama’s commitments to reduce emissions in the U.S.
However, while the President has been working hard to solidify his legacy on global warming, he has chosen to ignore the reality that the United States will not keep his carbon promises. The document that will be signed on April 22 will soon become another stack of empty promises on global warming.
While President Obama will issue a press release praising the signing – a “historic” event that he won’t even be attending – I want to make sure international participants are warned now that the president’s commitment lacks the support of his own government and will fail.
I can say this because history is already repeating itself, and I have been on the front lines dating back to the failed Kyoto treaty of 1997.
For over 20 years, the Senate has called up and defeated every new energy tax and regulation to solve man-made global warming claims.
In 1997, the Senate, by a vote of 95 to 0, approved the Byrd-Hagel resolution, which warned the President against signing a climate treaty that would either economically harm the United States or exempt developing countries from participating. The Senate also rejected 4 cap-and-trade bills spanning 13 years.
This past year, a bipartisan majority in both the U.S. Senate and House spoke again when we passed two resolutions of disapproval formally rejecting President Obama’s carbon regulations.
Congress has continuously shown that the American people do not want the federal government imposing harsh penalties – like cap-and-trade – to address the highly contested theory of man-made global warming.
The first attempt to enact cap-and-trade back in 2003 would have cost our economy upwards of $400 billion, and the numbers aren’t much different today with the President’s so-called Clean Power Plan.
The Clean Power Plan is the centerpiece of the president’s promise to the international community that the U.S. will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent, and yet, this plan - which attempts to do through regulation what the President was unable to do through legislation - stands on shaky legal ground.
Most recently the Supreme Court joined the chorus in signaling that the president’s efforts on climate change are dead on arrival.
The Supreme Court dealt the president’s legacy a major blow when it voted 5-4 in February to block the implementation of Obama’s Clean Power Plan while it is being litigated by over 150 entities -- including 27 states, 24 trade associations, 37 rural electric co-ops, and 3 labor unions.
This decision likely delays implementation of the rule until the next President and completely upends Obama’s Paris agreement.
Without the central component of his international climate agenda, achieving the promises he made in Paris are mere pipe dreams.
Even with the Clean Power Plan, the United States will fail to meet 45 percent of the promised GHG emission reductions. Now with the Supreme Court’s stay on these regulations, there could be an even greater deficit. If the Clean Power Plan is overturned, the U.S. will miss the marker by 60 percent.
Furthermore, the litigation on the Clean Power Plan won’t get resolve until likely 2018 – this means the regulations will be blocked for at least the next two years.
First the 3-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit will need to hear the case, which will take place in June. The 3-judge panel will issue a decision sometime this fall, and it will almost certainly be challenged with a request for en banc review by the entire D.C. Circuit.
Then a decision from an en banc panel won’t come until months later – likely by the end of the year. This decision too will almost certainly be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the Court decides to hear the case, a final decision is expected in late 2017 or early 2018.
The D.C. Circuit has already decided to delay hearing a case on the Clean Power Plan’s sister rule on carbon controls for new power plants until after the November elections, signally little appetite for allowing this to be an easy, quick legal review of Obama’s carbon mandates.
Similar to the Clean Power Plan litigation schedule, any decision on the new source rule will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court with a final decision expected in 2018. Critically, the new source rule is a legal prerequisite for the Clean Power Plan, so without the new source rule there is no Clean Power Plan.
The success of Obama’s carbon mandates hinges not just on one, but two Supreme Court wins that will be decided well after he leaves office.
And with a new administration needing to fill a vacancy next year, who knows how that will impact or delay consideration of pending cases.
We are clearly a long way off from knowing the outcome of the president’s carbon regulations written to help fulfill his pledge to the international community.
It is important for the 196 countries involved in the Paris climate agreement to understand what I am saying today – Congress, the courts, climate experts, industry are all pointing to the same conclusion – President Obama’s climate pledge is unobtainable and it stands no chance of succeeding in the United States. For the sake of the economic well-being of America, that’s a good thing.
A few countries have taken note. Specifically China and India – two of the world’s largest emitters of GHG – who are now second guessing the legitimacy of Obama’s commitments.
Navroz K. Dubash, a senior fellow at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, told the New York Times that, “[the Supreme Court stay] could be the proverbial string which causes Paris to unravel.”
Zou Ji, the deputy director general of China’s National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, also told the New York Times: “Look, [if] the United States doesn’t keep its word. Why make so many demands on us?”
In another display of solidarity against Obama’s climate agenda, I led 34 Senators and 171 House members in an Amicus Brief filed in the D.C. Circuit arguing that the Clean Power Plan is illegal.
The so-called Clean Power Plan would cause double digit electricity price increase in 40 states and have no impact on the environment.
It would result in less than a 0.2% reduction in CO2 worldwide and only prevent sea level rise of thickness equivalent to two sheets of paper.
Further, these regulations would prevent struggling communities from accessing reliable and affordable fuel sources, which could eventually lead to poor families choosing between putting healthy food on the table or turning their heater on in the winter.
Much of the focus this past year has been on the so-called Clean Power Plan and the Paris agreement that is reliant on its success. The Administration has the power generation sector in its crosshairs, but they will not stop there. The Clean Power Plan is a template for unauthorized action, and if it works for one sector, future bureaucratic agencies will use it to restructure every industrial sector in this country.
The immediate threat to future generations is not climate change. The climate is always changing and will continue to do so regardless of who is in the White House.
Luckily, the American people are catching on to the president’s climate charade. But don’t take my word for it: poll after poll confirms this.
A FOX News Poll found that 97 percent of Americans don’t care about global warming when stacked against terrorism, immigration, healthcare, and the economy.
Even an ABC News/Washington Post Poll from November found that the number of Americans who believe climate change is a serious problem is declining.
According to Gallup from March of last year, global warming came in dead last of Americans concerns for national problems.
And then another Gallup poll also from March of last year had global warming coming in dead last of environmental issues Americans are concerned about.
Last month, a George Mason University poll of 4,000 meteorologists also dispelled the president’s talking point that there is a 97% consensus among scientists that humans are driving climate change. The survey found that roughly 1 in 3 meteorologists do not believe man is the primary cause. The survey also found that meteorologists have “diverse views on the extent to which climate change can be averted…”
Overall, neither the American people nor Congress supports the President's detrimental climate change agenda and his attempt to bolster his personal legacy with empty promises.
International communities looking to America to lead the way should think twice before following through on their own commitments.