President Obama is expected today to bypass Congress again with a pledge to cut carbon emissions of up to 28 percent as part of a global climate treaty. By using federal agencies like the EPA to invoke stringent limitations on carbon dioxide emissions, Obama can keep his pledge without congressional approval. White House sources say the United Nations is working on this treaty with the United States and other countries. Under the U.S. Constitution, any International treaty must be approved by Congress, and there is little bipartisan support for the plan as it is expected to hit businesses very hard.
Stuart Varney, host and analyst of Fox Business’ Varney & Company, appeared on Fox News Channel this morning to discuss the ramifications of this treaty as well as the hidden agendas many people don’t know about. “The president proposes to cut our emissions by roughly a quarter in the next 10 years using the Clean Power regulations for power plants and new restrictions on vehicle emissions.”
According to Varney, the cost-benefit ratio simply doesn’t add up. “You’ve got $479 billion just to renovate the power plants. And what you get out of it is lowering the planet’s temperature by an estimated 2/100 of 1 percent. Secondly, we’ve agreed to allow China to keep on polluting until 2030, at which point they will be asked to start reducing. So we pay for a big reduction while they [China] continue to pollute. It’s not fair, it’s not going to be well received, and Congress will eventually pass judgment.”
Asked about how much these expenditures to comply with these emission’s cuts hurt the still-struggling economic recovery, Varney said, “It will hurt the manufacturers because these power plant renovations will make the price of electricity go up.” Higher electricity rates hurt the economy because businesses pass on these costs to their customers, who in turn cut back on spending.
China, on the other hand, will “still be able to continue polluting and no one can guarantee they will even comply when 2030 comes around.” Obama’s pledge, however, is being used as leverage to get the countries that emit larger amounts of carbon dioxide to pony up to the treaty table with similar or substantial pledges. Brazil, India, Indonesia, Japan and Russia, are not expected to announce their commitments until October, or at all.
The Guardian notes that, “The commitments offered over the next few months are seen as the building blocks of an international agreement at Paris for global efforts to fight climate change in the years ahead.” While Obama is making promises that will effect every consumer and business in the country, “most of the rest of the world will miss the Tuesday night deadline for submitting their own pledges.”
These developed countries are supposed to submit climate change plans on how they will cut CO2 emissions after 2020, and developing nations are only “likely to agree only to curb the growth of their emissions compared with ‘business-as-usual’, rather than make absolute cuts.” Poorer countries are arguing that they’re overall emissions are trivial compared to the industrialized nations, fearing that any agreements would prevent them from developing their nations.
Domestically, “many of those steps ordered by Obama face major legal challenges and intense political opposition, raising the risk that they could be undermined or even discarded once Obama leaves office in 2017.” On March 27, senate lawmakers “passed an amendment Thursday that would block the federal government from taxing carbon dioxide emissions, a popular idea among Democrats to fight global warming.” Democratic lawmakers argued that taxing carbon dioxide emissions “would be good for the economy.”
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