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April 23, 2021

Inhofe in the Washington Examiner: The Left's empty climate symbolism may give China a huge economic advantage

This week, we marked Earth Day — a day when climate alarmists bombard the rest of us with outrageous plans to achieve their far-left goals of controlling our lives while continuing on with their lavish lifestyles. If they had their way, they would end air travel, ban fossil fuels and reliable, carbon-free nuclear energy, all while putting an end to eating beef.

Here’s a news flash: The liberal elites are not living the lifestyle they’re pushing on everyone else, and they have no intention to. It’s all scare tactics to enact their socialist agenda.

The Biden administration is not above these scare tactics, either. Back in January, President Joe Biden signed a number of executive orders that “formally enshrined his mission of stopping climate change across every level of the federal government.” It’s clear he is trying to double down on the Obama legacy by not only rejoining, but adding to, the failed, job-killing Paris climate agreement. The problem with that? The vast majority of our so-called partners in the agreement are not holding up their end of the bargain — and America’s compliance would greatly damage our economy, jobs and cost of living.

The 2015 Paris Agreement allowed China, the world’s largest polluter of carbon dioxide emissions, to increase its emissions until 2030 and maintain its pollution status quo for 15 years. That’s why I urged former President Donald Trump to pull out of the Paris climate agreement — not only do unattainable, unilateral emissions targets put American job creators at a competitive disadvantage, but they also likely increase global emissions because manufacturing jobs would shift overseas to our adversaries and the world’s biggest polluters, like China.

But because liberals never met an international agreement they didn’t love, this week, the Biden administration unveiled sweeping plans not only to recommit the United States to the unilateral reductions of the Paris climate accord but also to build upon this failed agreement, close to doubling the Obama-era pledge. Yet, despite all the administration's lofty pledges, it admits these reductions won’t have any meaningful climate effect. Climate “czar” John Kerry admitted that the Paris climate agreement will have no substantial outcome on global emissions: “Not when almost 90% of all of the planet’s global emissions come from outside of U.S. borders. We could go to zero [emissions] tomorrow, and the problem isn’t solved.”

Despite that, the U.S. pledged today to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 without securing the same commitments from China, the world’s largest polluter.

That’s why I am introducing the Domestic Manufacturing Protection Act, which would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing any new greenhouse gas emission rules or regulations until China, India, and Russia each adhere to the same emission reduction targets that we impose on ourselves. We simply can’t afford to give them a free lunch and disarm our economy while we’re at it. Studies have found that by 2035, compliance with the Paris Agreement at roughly 30% reduction standard would destroy an average of 400,000 American jobs annually, half of which would be in manufacturing. Imagine what a 50% target would do.

We know that China is our greatest global threat — in national security, yes, but we can’t forget that economic competition and trade play a significant role too. If we don’t want China to “eat our lunch,” as Biden said, then we need to make sure they play by the same rules as us. Passing my Domestic Manufacturing Protection Act is a good step in that effort because we can’t risk a one-sided climate restriction that would give them a leg up on economic growth and trade.

James Inhofe is Oklahoma's senior U.S. senator.

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