U.N. climate pledge would hurt U.S. economy, prevent only 0.03°C temperature rise

Washington, D.C. – The Science, Space, and Technology Committee today held a hearing to examine the scientific justification for President Obama’s recently submitted climate pledge to the United Nations (U.N.). His pledge commits the United States to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 28 percent over the next decade and by 80 percent or more by 2050. The pledge was submitted in preparation for a U.N. summit in Paris this December and is aimed at circumventing Congress to produce an international agreement imposing legally binding requirements on the United States for the next decades. 

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “The president’s attempt to justify his actions with an alarmist, one-sided focus on worst-case scenarios establishes a poor foundation for sound policy-making. His far-reaching proposals and international promises will do lasting damage to our nation, all for little to no environmental benefit. In fact, the pledge to the U.N. is estimated to prevent only a 0.03° C temperature rise. We will never reach the president’s arbitrary targets, which would increase electricity costs, ration energy and slow economic growth. Such severe measures will have no discernable impact on global temperatures. They will make the government bigger and Americans poorer. The president’s ‘Power Plan’ is nothing more than a power grab.”

Witnesses testified today that current scientific understanding of climate change does not support these arbitrary emission targets. They also said that the president’s pledge lacks details about how the U.S. will achieve such goals without burdening our economy. 

The following witnesses testified today:

Dr. Judith Curry, Professor, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology

The Honorable Karen Harbert, President and CEO, Institute for 21st Century Energy U.S. Chamber of Commerce (former Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy)

Mr. Jake Schmidt, Director, International Program, Natural Resources Defense Council

Dr. Margo Thorning, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, American Council for Capital Formation

For additional information on today’s hearing, including witness testimony and the archived webcast, visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.