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OPINION: Rep. Ed Whitfield in the Washington Examiner: The president went to Paris


December 18, 2015

The president went to Paris
By Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY)

On November 30, President Obama went to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. The president sought to encourage nations to make commitments to curb greenhouse gases, the increase of which he views as the number one issue confronting mankind.

While some may claim the resulting deal is a grand triumph, the bottom line is that this was a non-binding political document that does not impose any new obligation on the United States. What the climate deal does do, however, is signal a path the president and his left wing allies believe America should take to address climate challenges. That approach involves restricting the use of our most abundant energy supplies and imposing billions of dollars in costs on Americans in the coming years.

This approach is consistent with the president’s earlier, failed attempts to impose cap-and-trade legislation in 2009 with a Democratic controlled Congress, and his current plan to impose what amounts to backdoor cap and trade in the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently finalized rules for new and existing fossil fuel fired power plants. This latter effort prompted the House and Senate to pass bipartisan joint resolutions of disapproval of EPA’s unprecedented rules to protect the American people from increased costs of electricity. In fact, over half of the states across the country are challenging the cap and trade regulations as unlawful.

I’m sure the president thinks his initiatives to rid the world of fossil-based energy will make future climate patterns safer. However, the fact of the matter is, should the deal eventually take hold, it will deprive our country of abundant, affordable energy and therefore take away the key ingredient Americans and others need in order to be ready for future challenges, including climate challenges — strong and prosperous societies.

The message America should have signaled to the world last week is that prosperous societies, built upon rule of law and market economies, are fueled by abundant, affordable and reliable energy. As societies develop, affordable, reliable energy from an all of the above portfolio, coupled with continued technological innovation and measured environmental regulation, allow countries to grow their economies, and people to power their homes, schools, hospitals, factories and farms. It allows societies to build necessary infrastructure, communicate, travel and prosper.

When it comes to climate concerns, economies based on affordable, reliable energy provide the means to respond and adapt to events. This is particularly true when it comes to future risks of climate change, whether natural or man-influenced, and is as true for America and its citizens as it is for anybody anywhere else in the world.

We should also have emphasized in Paris the plain fact that the world faces many challenges, from poverty to war, terrorism and corrupt regimes; to disease and disasters; to economic and employment concerns, and that climate concerns must be addressed within this reality.

This is why the majority of Congress has opposed the president’s climate agenda here at home and why we believe he misled the international community in Paris. This is also why we cannot support climate “solutions” that would result in new taxes or mandates, or that would drive up energy prices, threaten jobs and harm the most vulnerable in society — all of which undermine our communities and our ability to confront future risks.

Our policies should promote access to affordable, reliable energy that allows our communities to grow economically, to adapt to changes and to be resilient, both now and in the future. We should provide the opportunity and means for technological innovation and the development of resilient, efficient infrastructure both to reduce emissions and to withstand climate-related events, regardless of the causes. This is the positive path to confront the future and the path not promoted when the president went to Paris.

Read the column online HERE.


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