CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For months, one of the major criticisms the coal industry and its political supporters offered of President Obama’s plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants was that the administration was forcing the United States to go it alone while other major carbon polluters, like China, didn’t act.
On Wednesday, Obama announced a new agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping that includes new targets for carbon emissions reductions by the U.S. and a first-ever commitment by China to stop its emissions from growing by 2030. Within a few hours of the announcement, the mining industry and some West Virginia political leaders made it clear they weren’t very impressed.
“Last week, President Obama’s policies — chief among them excessive regulations — were soundly rejected by voters across the country,” said Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va. “Yet this agreement with China shows that Obama didn’t learn a lesson from what happened last week.”
McKinley complained that the president “entered into an agreement that he knows will never be ratified by the Senate,” proof that the president “will continue to circumvent Congress and act alone by issuing regulations and directives that will cost jobs, increase electricity costs, and put our economy at risk.”
Under the U.S.-China deal, Obama is setting a new target of cutting U.S. carbon pollution by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. China is committing to peak its carbon dioxide emissions around 2030, while striving to peak early, and boost its share of nonfossil-fuel energy to about 20 percent…