Urging Caution On Sweeping Climate Change Proposals


By:  Bob Goodlatte
Date: Dec. 11, 2009
Location: Washington, DC

Currently, government officials from around the globe, including President Obama and top U.S. officials, are gathering in Copenhagen, Denmark for the United Nations Climate Change Conference. These officials are hoping to create a new treaty containing stringent and enforceable requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While specifics of the treaty are still being worked out, there is reason to believe that the treaty will call for dramatic emission reductions that will cause serious economic harm to our already fragile economy.

This conference convenes at a time when there is increasing evidence that climate science is far from settled. In recent weeks, internal information from the East Anglia University's Climate Research Unit in England has been released showing that some researchers suppressed science that disproved the theory of global warming and unethically controlled the scientific peer-review process. What makes this so concerning is that the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change heavily relied on East Anglia University's research to prove global warming trends and to press the rest of the world to take action based on these trends. Given this discovery, the international community should re-evaluate enacting a treaty that might be promulgated on bad science.

In advance of the commencement of the climate change meetings in Copenhagen, and despite the discoveries at East Anglia University, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they are compelled to address greenhouse gas pollution under the Clean Air Act. Effectively, the EPA has stated it will regulate carbon dioxide, which occurs naturally in the environment and we even exhale, like it is sulphuric acid. The timing of the announcement serves to prove to negotiators in Copenhagen that the Administration intends to force Congress to act and pass climate change legislation.

Congress should not act based on the expectations foreign governments may have regarding what the U.S. should do on climate change. And, Congress should not act out of fear that the EPA will take on some sort of excessive regulatory action. It is not the EPA's job to tell Congress how to legislate. Congress has oversight over the EPA and can, if necessary, cut off the agency's ability to over-regulate in this manner. Proposals, like cap and trade legislation and the Copenhagen treaty, to address climate change cut off most of our traditional sources of energy, which are the life-blood of the American economy. Given these economic consequences, Congress should approach this issue very carefully and thoughtfully, especially given the allegations of bad science pushing global warming proposals forward.

I believe it is important for our nation to reevaluate our energy and environmental policies. However, Congress must work for solutions based upon what is best for the American people not due to pressure by foreign governments or overzealous bureaucrats.

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