As world leaders move closer to an expected landmark climate agreement in the coming days, a leading U.S. skeptic says the plan would trigger much higher energy costs and lead to thousands of deaths without actually changing the climate at all.
Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Christopher C. Horner has tangled frequently with the Obama administration over his efforts to track down energy and environmental policy documents through Freedom of Information requests. Horner is also the author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and “Power Grab: How Obama’s Green Policies Will Steal Your Freedom and Bankrupt America.”
Horner says the agreement is largely a done deal but a few, critical issues remain. He says the less that’s accomplished the better.
“It all comes down to what an email I obtained through litigation with the State Department, reported by the Washington Times on Monday of this week showed,” said Horner.
“The White House emailed at midnight with their climate negotiator saying the UN General Assembly president was just asked by Sen. (Ed) Markey (D-Mass.), ‘What do we have to do to get a climate treaty?’ He said one word, ‘Money.’ That’s what it’s about,” said Horner.
One of the things a lot of that money would be used for is a UN-based climate court.
“They’ve actually added a court into the draft now, called the International Climate Justice Tribunal, to threaten us, so that they’ll say, ‘Think of the uncertainty, how you would have to pay for every weather event that occurs everywhere in the world. You’re agreeing in this document that you caused it,'” said Horner.
He says the UN would then demand immense amounts of money from the U.S. on an annual basis.
“‘Why don’t you just agree to what’s called the Green Climate Fund, $100 billion per year to start.’ That is the sole real item for negotiation right now,” said Horner.
Obama has unilaterally moved to significantly reduce federal standards on water, ozone and carbon emissions through new regulations via the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA. Horner says that’s only the start of what this administration wants to do.
“Those don’t even get him to what he’s promising in Paris on behalf of the United States,” said Horner, who says Obama will continue doing everything possible to advance the agenda without Congress and then blame lawmakers for not acting in concert with him.
In the meantime, Horner says Obama is also inflicting headaches through his regulatory agenda.
“It’s a lot more than just the EPA. It is the Tennessee Valley Authority. It is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Department of Energy and Department of Agriculture. This is one reason it’s so appealing to the ruling class. It is the bottomless well of programs, because nothing ever proposed would actually, even according to the alarmists, detectably impact climate,” said Horner.
If this agreement takes effect, Horner predicts climate change advocates inside and outside of government will deflect attention from lack of accomplishments by saying “it’s a start” or “we must do something.” Unfortunately, he says, doing what the climate activists want is making people miserable based on Obama’s own 2008 admission that pursuing this agenda would cause energy rates to “necessarily skyrocket.”
“Okay, what happens when you do that. Remember, seniors, the poor, anybody on a low fixed income pay a much greater percentage of their income for heating and eating,” said Horner. “In ireland, a third of seniors are choosing between heating and eating. If they choose to stay alive at night, then they have to forego eating. We used to hear this claim about medicine.”
Horner says the death toll caused by skyrocketing energy prices is alarming.
“Now they expect 40,000 excess winter deaths just in England and Wales. Excess, And they had expected maybe 2,000 before these policies came into effect. Then it spiked and they say half of these are people dying of hypothermia in their apartments. You’re killing people for no impact on climate,” said Horner.
In some places in Europe, Horner says people are resorting to desperate measures.
“They’re burning books. Bookstore employees are giving interviews, saying, ‘I think burning books is wrong but the seniors are trying to stay alive. They really like these hardback, thick books like ‘War and Peace.’ They come in to stay alive at night so who are we to judge,'” recounted Horner.
He says people dying in heat waves get a lot more attention than those dying in winter because the summertime deaths fit the political narrative. But he says they’re dying for the same reasons.
“The reason seniors die in heat waves in societies that have made electricity so expensive is not because they don’t have a $130 air conditioning unit. It’s because they can’t pay to run it,” said Horner.
Horner says the only hope for blocking this deal from impacting American consumers is for the U.S. Senate to declare it a treaty and vote on it accordingly. Obama has said it’s not a treaty and has no plans to submit it for Senate ratification.