By ACCF, Special for USDR
Political announcement or binding agreement? Last year’s U.S.-China Announcement on Climate Change is rich in what it says and does not say. Interestingly, both sides of the U.S. climate policy debate have framed the Announcement as something that it is not – an agreement with commitments related to emissions cuts and limitations, according to a special report by the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) Center for Policy Research.
In Understanding The U.S.-China Announcement On Climate Change: Separating Myth From Reality, ACCF Executive Vice President George David Banks examines the details of the announcement, the reasons why both governments wanted a joint statement, a comparative breakdown of global greenhouse gases (GHG), and the hurdles both China and the United States face in meeting their respective goals.
“A primary purpose of the Administration joining the Chinese in the Announcement was to neutralize Republican arguments that unilateral U.S. carbon regulation does not produce global results,” Banks said. “Yet, the Announcement does not carry any real emissions-related commitments or obligations. Consistent misrepresentation of the statement in official channels and the press, however, has allowed the White House to gain ground in the eyes of independent voters that EPA action helped convince China to act.”
From 2005 to 2030, China’s GHG emissions are projected to grow by an alarming 4,755 million metric tons–more than half of the anticipated growth in global GHG emissions. By 2030, China’s share of those emissions is forecast to be 28 percent, compared to only 12 percent for the United States. With an expected increase in political pressure to act, it should therefore be no surprise that Beijing was eager to win U.S. approval of its unrestricted growth of emissions over the next 15 years.
Banks notes that Republican arguments that the Announcement will harm the U.S. economy actually feed the narrative that the joint statement is something that it is not – an agreement with some type of commitment.
“The odds of the U.S. achieving its goals in the Announcement are very slim – success depends primarily on sluggish economic growth, a string of Democratic victories in the 2016 election, and success in the Courts vis-a-vis future carbon-related proposals and regulation over the next decade,” Banks concluded. “When you factor in the probability of success for all three, we have a very low probability of success – less than 10 percent.”
Founded in 1973, The American Council for Capital Formation (www.accf.org) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan economic policy organization dedicated to the advocacy of pro-growth tax, energy, environmental, trade and economic policies that encourage saving and investment.
SOURCE American Council for Capital Formation