Sen. Inhofe (R) In Lion’s Den in CopenhagenDecember 17, 2009 - 7:19 AM | by: William La Jeunesse
(Source: AP Photo)
The leading global warming skeptic in the U.S. Senate shocked reporters in Copenhagen with a dose of American reality with his prediction Thursday morning that the U.S. Senate will not pass a carbon ‘cap and trade’ bill, regardless of the commitment President Obama is expected to make here tomorrow.
“I am here to make sure the 190 countries here don’t go home with the false impression,” said sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla. “The United States is not going to pass cap and trade. It just isn’t going to happen. Its chances are zero.”
Inhofe said just 25 Senators would support the type of carbon reduction bill already passed in the House.
Democratic leaders, including Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., disagree, and predict the Senate will pass such a bill this spring.
Surrounded by reporters from around the world, including many who believe global warming is real, Inhofe often looked like a lamb on his way to slaughter.
One reporter asked Inhofe “What do you tell the children who have to live in a nightmare world. What should we tell them about your country being a heroin addict on fossil fuel? Answer the question!”
“Most of you are on the far left side, so listen closely. I contend the consensus is not there, and it wasn’t there prior to Climate-gate.”
“Nothing binding will come out of here in my opinion, and if it does it will be rejected by the American people.”
Inhofe is the second member of congress to arrive in Copenhagen. Kerry addressed reporters last night and got a standing ovation inside the Bella Convention Center. By contrast, Inhofe was mobbed inside the press center and was not offered a speaking slot.
Some 40 members of congress are expected to arrive later today. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D- Calif., will address the press in the afternoon. No Republicans appear to have been extended the same invitation.
Meanwhile, the U.S. extended a $100 billion carrot to the rest of world Thursday, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters in Copenhagen the United States is willing to commit up to $10 billion a year by 2012. Clinton also pledged support for a global fund of $100 billion a year to help developing nations deal with climate change, provided the nations here are willing live up to the ‘transparency’ demanded by the U.S.
Clinton said the money was “conditional.” Clinton’s words were directed at China, which has refused to meet the monitoring and verification requirements requested by the US when it comes to promises of carbon reductions.
Clinton, who is one of six cabinet members accompanying Obama to the climate summit, said climate change “is an undeniable and unforgiving fact.” And the U.S. was willing to work with other nations to reduce c02 emissions, but any agreement here must have “full transparency.”
Critics have accused the U.S. of trying to ‘buy’ support for a climate treaty that meets U.S. approval. On Wednesday, negotiators from Britain and the developing nations came to agree on the $100 billion figure by 2020, a reduction from $400 billion African and the poorest nations had previously insisted upon.