Washington, D.C. – The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology today held a hearing to examine the various scientific, economic and other policy issues surrounding President Obama’s recent pledge to the United Nations-led effort to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. The president pledged that the United States will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 28 percent over the next decade and by 80 percent or more by 2050.
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “The president’s Paris pledge will increase electricity costs, ration energy and slow economic growth. Congress has repeatedly rejected the president’s extreme climate agenda. The president’s climate pledge is a bad deal for the American economy, the American people and would produce no substantive environmental benefits.” A video of Chairman Smith’s full statement is available here.
Witnesses today questioned the legality of the agreement and stressed that the president’s pledge lacks constitutional legitimacy since it has not been ratified by the Senate. In addition to promised greenhouse gas reductions, the Paris agreement would require the United States to contribute billions of taxpayer dollars to developing countries to reduce their carbon emissions. Witnesses today questioned how the administration intends to honor this agreement without Congressional approval, since all public funds must be appropriated through Congress.
Witnesses were also critical of whether the agreement would have any significant impact on climate change. For example, the U.S. pledge to the U.N. is estimated to prevent only one-fiftieth of one degree Celsius temperature rise over the next 85 years. And EPA’s own data shows that the administration’s costly Clean Power Plan regulation that is the cornerstone of its pledge would reduce sea level rise by one one-hundredth of an inch, or the thickness of three sheets of paper.
In December, a majority of Congress disapproved of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan regulation through the Congressional Review Act. The governors of most states are also challenging the rule in court.
The following witness testified today:
Mr. Steve Eule, Vice President for Climate and Technology, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Dr. John Christy, Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center, University of Alabama in Huntsville
Dr. Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute
Mr. Steven Groves, The Bernard and Barbara Lomas Senior Research Fellow, Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, The Heritage Foundation
For more information about today’s hearing, including witness testimony and the hearing webcast, please visit the Committee’s website.