President Obama’s agreement with Supreme Leader Xi Jinping trades away near-term U.S. energy security and prosperity for vague and distant promises. While cheered by his mainstream media acolytes, any illusions of real meaningfulness are likely not shared by China’s state-run media. 

chinesesootRecognizing Obama’s desperation to restore an aura of leadership and relevance following his party’s mid-term trouncing, an editorial posted just prior to his visit in Beijing’s Global Times was brutally candid. Referring to 2008 presidential campaign mantra, it said:  “Obama always utters ‘Yes, we can,’ which led to the high expectations people had for him. . . . But he has done an insipid job, offering nearly nothing to his supporters. U.S. society has grown tired of his banality.”

No, rather than historic, the China climate pact is more accurately described as histrionic. It is certainly not the “seriously huge” development which Ambassador Samantha Power proclaimed; anything of “great consequence” that John Kerry characterized; or a “win” that NBC hailed.

Under terms of the understanding, Supreme Leader Xi Jinping agrees “to intend to” shift at least 20% of Chinese energy production to non-fossil fuels and achieve peaking of fossil CO2 emissions by 2030 . . . at which point emissions are to begin receding. Incidentally, this shift to non-fossils is principally directed away from coal to nuclear power — not to windmills and sunbeams — and is something they have intended to do for some time. 

China’s transition from coal isn’t really about carbon dioxide “pollution” (plant food). Rather, it is because unbreathable air resulting from irresponsibly unfiltered particulates is causing serious health problems leading to premature deaths. And as for cresting CO2 emissions by 2030, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the academic journal Energy Policy all predict that current demographic and urbanization trends will cause this to occur anyway.

In exchange for these much heralded non-concessions, our negotiator-in-chief pledged that the U.S. will cut CO2 emissions by as much as 28% below 2005 levels by co2plants2025, suggesting a doubling of the annual reduction pace he set in 2009. Accordingly, using an argument that China is following his lead to fight “climate change,” he now has even greater moral authority — nay, obligation — to double down on his administration’s anti-carbon EPA regulatory agenda.

Economic, business and social impacts be damned. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that new EPA rules on CO2 power plant emissions alone will shut down hundreds of coal-fired generators, add $289 billion in consumer electricity costs, and lower household disposable incomes by $586 billion by 2030. The Chamber also projects that the regulations will cost the U.S. economy 2.3 million jobs and half a trillion in lost GDP over the next 10 years.


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  • Larry Bell

    CFACT Advisor Larry Bell heads the graduate program in space architecture at the University of Houston. He founded and directs the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture. He is also the author of "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax."