OPINION: Rep. Ed Whitfield in USA TODAY: America's pain is China's gain
August 3, 2014
Rep. Ed Whitfield: America's pain is China's gain
With growing economies and energy demands in China, India and the rest of the developing world, America's so-called leadership on climate change is highly unlikely to succeed — and very likely to backfire. U.S. jobs and economic opportunity will be lost to countries hungry for affordable energy.
According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, climate-related spending in the U.S. totaled nearly $77 billion across the federal government from 2008 through 2013. Many federal agencies now have climate offices and dedicated personnel.
President Obama is seeking to expand this spending and broaden the scope of the administration's climate activities. The most aggressive of these actions is the president's proposed clean power plan, which seeks to limit carbon dioxide emissions from our nation's power plants.
Obama's own Environmental Protection Agency admits it will cost billions of dollars per year and raise energy prices for consumers. Obliterating the coal industry will also cost thousands of jobs in Kentucky and across America.
The Obama administration fully understands that unilateral climate action will have little impact. As former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson told my subcommittee, "We will not ultimately be able to change the amount of carbon dioxide that is accumulating in the atmosphere alone."
Current EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified last fall that her agency does not measure whether its regulations will actually affect climate change; it is simply part of an "overall strategy" to demonstrate global leadership.
While U.S. energy-related carbon emissions have fallen to their lowest level in nearly two decades, emissions in China are at an all-time high and continue to rise. In fact, China emits more carbon dioxide in one month than the maximum amount EPA's proposal would reduce in one year.
In sum, the president's climate plan amounts to all pain for American consumers and China's gain. While President Obama continues to spend tens of billions of dollars and seek to hamstring our economy, China and other countries abroad are poised to take advantage of our competitive weakness.
Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., is chairman of the House Energy and Power Subcommittee
Read the column online HERE.