Saturday, November 15, 2014
President Obama's War on Coal Continues With the New Non-Treaty Treaty With China
The Obama Administration announced Wednesday that China and the United States entered into an agreement to reduce carbon emissions. This agreement was viewed as historic because until now neither China nor India had agreed to any carbon emissions controls. Nor have the other three BRIC countries, Brazil, India or Russia. Any international agreement, such as the Kyoto Protocol, would be ineffective without the cooperation of China and India. China is the world’s largest source of global climate emissions with 26%, followed by the United States with 16% and then India. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol did not bind “developing” nations, such as China and India. President Clinton never submitted it to the Senate for ratification. The Senate had previously voted its opposition 97-0 to any global emissions treaty that did not include the developing nations. President Obama is not President Clinton or George W. Bush. He is undertaking a War on Coal through his Environmental Protection Agency. He said during a January 17, 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Board: “If someone wants to build a coal-powered-plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them.” He believes alternative fuels are the future of America. Fossil fuels are the enemy. Congress, the Democratic Congress, refused to enact his cap and trade proposal that would cripple the coal industry. He then turned it over to the EPA to carry through. The EPA is progressively setting emissions standards that will cripple the coal industry. Coal is the backbone of industrial America. His agreement with China will carry through on his efforts. However, it is non-binding because he will not submit it to the Senate for ratification. The new republican Senate, along with the remaining Democrats from the coal states, will reject the treaty. It also has the weakness of Obama’s international agreements, such as with Iran. He effectively gives up something meaningful in exchange for nothing. This agreement binds the United States to reduce by 2025 carbon emissions of the United States to a level 26-28% below the 2005 emissions. China, in exchange, agrees to reach, reach – not reduce, peak carbon emissions by 2030. No cap is set on the 2030 level of carbon emissions. China can continue to bring on line a new coal plant every 7-10 days. We reduce; China increases. China also agreed to generate by 2030 20% of its electricity by clean energy, such as solar, wind, nuclear or other means. That would equal between 800-1,000 gigawatts of electricity, or roughly the total amount of electricity generated in the United States annually. We reduce; they increase, further putting the American industrial base at an economic disadvantage. This agreement would be dead on arrival at the Senate. It is non-binding, ineffective without Senate ratification by a 2/3 vote. The former Constitutional Law Professor must know that, but he's looking to climate change as a Democratic issue in 2016. The War on Coal continues.