Hours after President Obama announced a groundbreaking climate deal with China, leaders of the Republican Party attacked the agreement with guns blazing, calling it "unrealistic" and warned a devastating impact.
The deal secured the first-ever commitment by China to stop its emissions from growing entirely after 2030, and promises that the U.S. would double its pace of carbon reduction and ultimately cut the country’s total emissions by at least 26% from 2005 levels by 2025.
House Speaker John Boehner argued the stateside emissions cuts are “job-crushing” and soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently argued that other countries would never agree to curb emissions, so the U.S. shouldn't either, so in his response he said it's an “ideological War on Coal.”
Senator James Inhofe, the Republican likely to lead the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee next, called it a “non-binding charade.”
The agreement between the two countries—which together account for over one third of all greenhouse gas pollution – marks a major milestone for relations between the two countries and the president’s promised goal to stop climate change’s devastating effects. Scientists have deemed climate present in the melting natural habitats of 35,000 walruses, as well as extreme weather patterns that have plagued the country in recent years.
Inhofe has routinely denied that climate change is a problem, suggesting over the last decade that it might help humanity or that humans were arrogant for trying to mitigate its effects because God would take care of it. "This deal is a non-binding charade. The American people spoke against the President's climate policies in this last election. They want affordable energy and more economic opportunity, both which are being diminished by overbearing EPA mandates,” Inhofe said in a statement.
The Oklahoma Republican, poised to head up the Senate committee that handles climate policy, also penned a book in 2012, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.
On Wednesday, McConnell said he was “particularly distressed by the deal apparently he’s reached with the Chinese, which as I read the agreement requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years while these carbon emissions regulations are creating havoc on my state and other states around the country.”
He recently told an editorial board that he doesn’t know if climate change is real because he is “not a scientist” and would rather encourage his state’s energy industry than worry about it.
These three top Republicans aren't alone; several members of the Party who previously argued that they didn't want more regulations are now saying they aren't convinced that climate change exists at all.
Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan was recently asked if he believes humans cause climate change. “I don’t know the answer to that question,” he said. “I don’t think science does, either.”