WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican congres-sional leaders on Wednesday wasted no time in criticising what they called President Barack Obama’s “one-sided” climate deal with China, using the announcement to declare war on the administration’s plan to use executive actions to combat carbon emissions.
In brokering a high-profile pact with China, the Obama administration knew it would pre-empt one of the most often-cited arguments Republicans have used to argue against mandatory domestic carbon cuts: China will continue to pollute un-abated.
But even with China vowing to curb its carbon, Republicans were quick to question the validity of China’s headline-grabbing pledge and used the announcement to rally the party as it prepares to lead Congress by promising to do what it can to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency, whose rules will achieve the bulk of promised emissions cuts.
“As we enter a new Congress, I will do everything in my power to rein in and shed light on the EPA’s unchecked regulations,” said Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, a climate change sceptic and critic of UN climate talks who will become the chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in January.
China and the United States agreed on Wed-nesday to new limits on carbon emissions starting in 2025. For the first time, China vowed to cap its emissions by at least 2030.
Senator Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republi-can and incoming Senate majority leader, said his main goal when he takes the gavel is to get “the EPA reined in”. He questioned the stringency of China’s pledge on Wednesday at a photo session with newly elected Republican senators on the first day of a “lame-duck” session of Congress. A new Republican majority takes control of the Senate from Democrats in January.
“As I read the agreement, it requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years, while these carbon emission regulations are creating havoc in my state and in other states across the country.”