Fact check: China pledged bigger climate action than the USA; Republican "leaders" wrong
This week, President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled a secretly negotiated agreement for both countries to slow global warming by pledging to reduce carbon pollution.
Specifically, President Obama pledged that the USA would cut its carbon pollution 26–28% below 2005 levels by 2025, while President Xi pledged that by 2030, Chinese carbon pollution will peak and 20% of the country’s energy will come from low-carbon sources.This agreement received predominantly high praise because it represents the world’s two biggest net carbon polluters taking a leading role in committing to tackle the threats posed by human-caused global warming
. China in particular is often used as an excuse by those in the United States and around the world who oppose taking steps to slow global warming.However, Republican House Majority Leader John Boehner and soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were among the few who issued negative public statements about the climate agreement. McConnell in particular badly misunderstood the practical consequences of the Chinese and American carbon pledges, saying
,As I read the agreement it requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years while these carbon emissions regulations are creating havoc in my state and around the country
.Senator McConnell misunderstood the Chinese target of reaching peak carbon pollution levels by 2030 as a pledge to “do nothing.”
China could not meet its climate pledge by maintaining business-as-usual (BAU) and doing “nothing.” Quite the opposite; curbing those rising carbon emissions as China’s economy continues to grow will require substantial effort. That’s why President Xi also pledged that 20% of the country’s energy would come from low-carbon sources by 2030.
In comparison, the United States will have a relatively easy time meeting the pledge made by President Obama. US carbon pollution is already about 10–15% below 2005 levels and falling by about 1.5% per year. Achieving the target of 26–28% emissions cuts below 2005 levels by 2025 will only require continuing the current rate at which American carbon pollution is already falling.
Contrary to Senator McConnell’s perception, it’s President Obama’s pledge that requires doing little more than America is already doing. President Xi’s pledge requires that China dramatically alter its current course, cutting its net carbon pollution between 2015 and 2030 by about 20 billion tons. Speaker Boehner similarly denounced the agreement as,
…the latest example of the president’s crusade against affordable, reliable energy that is already hurting jobs and squeezing middle-class families
However, President Obama simply pledged that America’s carbon pollution would continue to fall. How those emissions cuts are achieved is open for debate, and studies have shown there are ways to cut carbon pollution while growing the economy, creating jobs, and helping the middle class.
Unfortunately, the comments made by Republican congressional leaders McConnell and Boehner signal that they’re more interested in finding ways to increase coal and oil consumption and making global warming worse than they are in finding economically beneficial ways of tackling this problem.
Recent research has shown that a majority of Republicans accept the reality of human-caused global warming when they realize there are free market solutions available, but about two-thirds of Republicans reject the science when they think the solution requires government regulation.http://www.skepticalscience.com/fact-check-china-pledged-bigger-climate-action-than-usa.htmlIf the republicans are so pro-business, why are they so against the hundreds of businesses with investment in the renewable energy sector?
One of Congress's kings of do-nothing
, once again expresses loathe toward hundreds of successful businesses in the United States that don't subscribe to the Koch brother's poison.
The adviser to President Barack Obama who negotiated a deal with China to cut greenhouse-gas emissions blasted Republican leaders’ attacks on the agreement as “bogus.”
Republican lawmakers have criticized the accord as a job-killer and the party’s Senate leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, charged that it would let China “do nothing” until 2030, when it has a target for reducing carbon emissions.“That’s a totally bogus charge, and I think they know it,”
Obama counselor John Podesta said in an interview with Al Hunt for the “Charlie Rose” program on PBS. “They claim not to be scientists, but I think they could at least observe the basic facts about an economy.”
To meet its targets on time, China must do the equivalent of building “a nuclear power plant a week or putting 200,000 rooftop solar installations on a week,” he said. “It’s going to be in their five-year plan. We’ll be able to observe it.”
Podesta, a seasoned Chicago-born Democratic operative and veteran of Bill Clinton’s White House, gave no ground to Republicans in the interview. He criticized as “irresponsible” party leaders’ threats of poisoned relations if Obama proceeds with planned executive actions on immigration and predicted Republicans’ skepticism of climate change would be “a losing issue” in the 2016 election.http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-14/obama-aide-podesta-calls-republican-climate-attacks-bogus-.html