The flaws in the US-China climate agreement were highlighted again in Congress last week, when Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) pressed EPA Administration Gina McCarthy on whether any binding agreements had been signed. Under repeated questioning McCarthy eventually told Congress that it had merely been discussed “as a path forward.”
McCarthy’s first response to Rep. Barton was that she was “sure” an agreement had been announced, and that she had seen the documents. However, McCarthy appeared to subsequently back away from that statement, saying “I don’t think that this has been discussed as that kind of a binding agreement,” and, “I think it has been discussed as a path forward.”
As a path forward. So there is nothing in writing, and – apparently – nothing binding. This means the entire 2030 goal is purely aspirational and means that technically, nobody has to do anything. If the goal is missed, it can just be shrugged off and dismissed.
The flaws in this deal have been explored at length on this blog before: it essentially requires China to do nothing, while the US hands them a competitive advantage by imposing strict regulations on American industry. This latest comment by McCarthy, that it is “a path forward,” shows that this much-lauded route forward is in fact a road to nowhere for the US.