By Justin Sykes
Much ado about nothing is an adequate description of the so-called climate agreement reached between President Obama and Chinese Dictator Xi Jinping earlier this month. In fact, the agreement is probably worse than nothing for American workers.
The President’s announcement that he had struck a non-binding agreement with the Communist giant to reduce emissions was heralded by the liberal media as “historic.” Yet the only thing that may be considered “historic” about the so-called deal is how blatantly one-sided the agreement is – with President Obama committing the U.S. to an even tighter economic straitjacket while giving Beijing a green light to continue its emissions trend unabated.
In the agreement, President Obama pledged the U.S. would cut its emissions by 26%-28% below 2005 levels by 2025 – a more stringent reduction than the Administration’s far-reaching and controversial new regulations which call for a 17% cut reductions in 2005 levels by 2020. The emissions cuts proposed in the President’s China agreement would deal another crushing blow to an American economy already on the ropes and facing thousands of jobs losses and trillions in reduced economic output under the President’s “Climate Action Plan.”
Given the overwhelming repudiation of the President’s failed policies in last months historic elections, it is mind-boggling that the White House would think an agreement codifying China’s comparative economic advantages over U.S. businesses would be appropriate defies logic.
Perhaps most striking is just how one-sided the deal appears to be. While the accord would further stymie the U.S. economy with a thicket of red tape, China is essentially obligated to do nothing.
President Xi pledged that China’s emissions would peak by “around 2030, with the intention to try to peak early, and to increase the non-fossil fuel share of all energy to around 20% by 2030.” Yet for years it has been the accepted consensus among academics that even absent new environmental policy China’s emissions are on track to peak and begin declining by 2030 anyway. According to a 2012 report, “China’s emissions will rise until around 2030 – when the country’s urbanization peaks, and its population growth slows – and then begins to fall.”
Thus China pledging to peak it’s emissions by 2030 is like Jos. A. Banks having a new sale on suits…it’s probably going to happen regardless. President Obama is simply taking credit for something that was already going to happen in an effort to try and fool American voters into thinking further regulations are justified.
And what does it even mean for China to try and “peak early”? Are Chinese emissions the equivalent of a Freshman ballplayer hoping to “peak early” to make the JV squad? – No. “Peak early” for Beijing means aggressively trying to maximize the country’s economy and global prowess over the next 15 years while President Obama has the U.S. economy on the bench with its shoelaces tied together.
Furthermore, there is no assurance that China will even seek to increase the share of non-fossil fuels it uses because the so-called “agreement” is completely non-binding and unenforceable. Is it any wonder the Chinese President agreed to a plan that requires nothing new of China but everything of the U.S.?
The idea that this agreement is a hollow charade benefitting only Obama’s legacy is reinforced by that fact that President Obama knows that he will soon be facing a more free-market majority in Congress, one that will be welcoming many new members who won in part by campaigning against the bevy of job killing regulations the President has rolled out over the last six years. While this climate pact may make for a nice display someday in his presidential library, it will have little impact on the environment, and much to hamper U.S. competitiveness and job creation.