The Paris climate agreement the Obama administration is set to sign onto Friday with 54 other countries will likely be even less effective than the famous failed climate accord the Clinton administration signed, according to a Senate report.
The report by the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee is titled “Lessons From Kyoto: Paris Agreement Will Fail National Economies and the Climate.” President Bill Clinton’s administration entered the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.
“It is amazing how little has changed over time. The Paris agreement, like the Kyoto agreement, is full of empty promises that will have no meaningful impact on the climate,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the committee chairman, said.
Secretary of State John Kerry will be at the United Nations headquarters in New York Friday to formally sign an agreement reached at the 21st U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in December. The nations are gathering at the U.N. headquarters on “International Mother Earth Day.”
But after the celebration is over, reality will set in, Inhofe predicted.
“The problem with international climate change agreements is that they ignore basic economic and political realities and, therefore, are doomed to failure,” Inhofe added. “When the hype over the signing fades, the reality will set in that the policies President Obama is promising will not last. President Obama is simply using this so-called historic success to cement his legacy with environmental activists shortly before his term is up.”
The Paris Climate Agreement sets non-biding greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for developed countries such as the United States and Western European allies and separate targets for developing countries. It consists of a total of 55 countries accounting for 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
“The swift action by so many countries — every climate, every size, every economy — is really a testament to the undeniable momentum coming out of Paris, and it’s spurring not only swift action on the Paris agreement itself but really continued progress on our collective efforts to move to clean energy, to low carbon, to a climate-friendly future,” a senior State Department official said in press call. “Countries, cities, states, companies and communities all moving ahead, turning the work really to implement the Paris agreement into reality — to achieve the commitments set forth in Paris to reduce emissions, to mobilize private capital, to build resilience, to adapt to the impacts of unavoidable change.”
He added that “Friday is another critical milestone along the path” to “confronting the threats” of climate change.
The Kyoto agreement was similarly considered “historic,” the Senate report noted, when it was agreed to in 1997 by 150 countries. However, President Bill Clinton never submitted the agreement to the Senate for ratification. Then in March 2001, President George W. Bush rejected the agreement.
“Countries that have signed and ratified an agreement have the freedom to act in their best interest and withdraw,” the Senate report says. “For example, Canada who signed Kyoto in 1997 and ratified it in 2002 withdrew in 2011 — even in the midst of the first commitment period.”
The report further notes that even countries that ratified Kyoto, making it legally binding, still failed to comply, mostly citing that other countries that signed on didn’t ratify it.
“Kyoto was legally binding and countries still failed to comply,” the report said. “Non-binding targets in the Paris Agreement will not produce any greater confidence that countries will comply.”