Congress Won't Cool Fight Against Obama on Climate
Data showing the heating of Earth in 2104 to the highest level on record will do little to stop Republicans in the U.S. Congress from fighting President Barack Obama's use of executive powers to slow climate change.
Republicans, who won control of the Senate in November's elections, campaigned on dismantling Obama's plans to slow the country's emissions. More broadly, they plan to target Obama's recent pledge of $3 billion to a global climate fund that led some to hope the world would reach an agreement to fight global warming in Paris next year.
After two U.S. agencies released new climate reports on Friday, the Senate's leading global warming skeptic said human activity was not leading the planet to the brink of devastation.
"There has been no significant increase in global average temperatures and this data only shows that the global warming hiatus is continuing," Senator Jim Inhofe, said in response to the reports.
NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released studies saying 2014 was the globe's hottest year since records began in 1880, adding weight to the argument that burning coal, oil and gas is changing the climate.
Obama released a Climate Action Plan in 2013 directing the Environmental Protection Agency to cut emissions from power plants. Obama has also pushed rules cutting emissions from cars and trucks.
The reports showed 2014 was only a tiny bit hotter than 2010 proving "the need for more stringent EPA regulations is unnecessary," said Inhofe, the new chairman of the Senate environment committee, the author of a book on climate called "The Greatest Hoax," and a longtime opponent of legislation to reduce carbon emissions.
New Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell criss-crossed his home state of Kentucky in the last year's campaign vowing to battle Obama's "war on coal" by passing legislation to roll back EPA regulations.
McConnell "does not support the President's plan for a national energy tax that hurts jobs, raises utility rates and makes the electrical grid less reliable," a spokesman said on Friday. And McConnell has made approving TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL oil pipeline, which opponents say will increase emissions, his chamber's first priority of 2015.
House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday attacked steps by the Obama administration to address climate change.
"Every proposal we see out of the administration with regard to climate change means killing American jobs," he said.
(Additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Bernard Orr)