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November 12, 2014

Inhofe: U.S.-China Climate Deal a Non-Binding Charade

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement today about the announced deal between the United States and China to address climate change:

"In the President's climate change deal, the United States will be required to more steeply reduce our carbon emissions while China won't have to reduce anything. It's hollow and not believable for China to claim it will shift 20 percent of its energy to non-fossil fuels by 2030, and a promise to peak its carbon emissions only allows the world's largest economy to buy time. China builds a coal-fired power plant every 10 days and is the largest importer of coal in the world. 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. As we enter a new Congress, I will do everything in my power to rein in and shed light on the EPA's unchecked regulations.”

 *An earlier version of the press release included the phrase “no known natural gas reserves” in the third sentence. This has since been removed. Senator Jim Inhofe spoke on the U.S. Senate floor on Nov. 18, 2014, correcting his press statement. The floor speech can be viewed here or the text as prepared for delivery can be read below:

"Mr. President, I am on the floor today to talk about China’s inability to keep its promise with the United States. China agreed to stop increasing its emissions by 2030, but it is impossible to accomplish this goal because of its current domestic energy mix and heavy reliance on coal for affordable electricity to power its economy.

"Last week, I said that China has “no known reserves of natural gas” due to misinformation I received, but this should not distract from the fact that China has a difficult road ahead in developing affordable sources of fuel to meet its energy demands.

"According to a Forbes article on Aug. 19, 2014, “China is not the United States and faces technological, geological, technical and topological hurdles in developing its shale gas resources.”

"With these setbacks, China announced in August that it had to lower its natural gas production forecast significantly.

"In 2012, the Chinese projected they would produce 60 billion to 100 billion cubic meters of natural gas from shale by 2020.  In August of this year, they cut that forecast to only 30 billion cubic meters.  An additional 30 billion cubic meters of production is expected to come from coal field sources.  All told, this will meet 1% of China’s electricity generation needs by 2020.

"As the New York Times reported on Aug. 21, 2014, China’s ability to extract sufficient natural gas is in “serious doubt” and its natural gas production is “growing at a slower pace than its decelerating economy.”

"China’s problem is that its shale deposits are much different than ours.  The formations are deeper and more laden with clay, making it more expensive to get to and get out through the hydraulic fracturing process.  You can’t simply take what we know here in the United States and apply it there.  A new code has to be cracked.

"And Chinese companies have had a difficult time bringing online the natural gas they’ve found.  One company, Far East Energy, recently shut a quarter of its wells for a number of technical and transportation problems, including a lack of gas-gathering pipelines.  This underscores that China simply does not have the deep technological know-how that we do that has made the shale revolution possible; it was built on the back of 100 years of successful oil and gas development and technological advancements.

"China will continue to rely heavily on coal for its electricity generation, and we see this happening today: China continues to build the equivalent of one new coal fired power plant every ten days.

"Other options for producing electricity with lower CO2 emissions is nuclear; however, the country’s nuclear plans have stalled following the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

"Renewables are also an option, but we all know these alone cannot affordably power the world’s largest economy. I doubt China will stick to any agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if it puts at risk the country’s economy.

"In the meantime, the United States has agreed to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% by 2025, so that the President can solidify a legacy on climate change that will be at the cost of the American people. We are handcuffing our economic future to the President’s policies, which fail by their own measurement.  Acting unilaterally, the President’s greenhouse gas regulations will reduce global temperatures by only 0.018 degrees Celsius by 2100 – 86 years from now.  That is a plan that is all pain for no gain."


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