- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 8, 2009

House Republicans on Tuesday warned President Obama not to commit the United States to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions at this month’s climate change conference in Copenhagen, saying that Congress would reject any such agreement.

Rep. Mike Pence, Indiana Republican, who chairs the House Republican Conference, said that with the country gripped by a serious recession and a lack of national consensus on how — or even whether — to combat rising carbon emissions, now is not the time to force costly energy policies on the country.

“Mr. President, don’t make promises in Copenhagen we can’t keep,” Mr. Pence said during an afternoon news conference at the Capitol attended by about 10 other House Republicans.

Mr. Pence said Monday’s announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to declare formally that greenhouse gases — primarily from the burning of fossil fuels — pose a threat to human health and need to be reduced was a “naked attempt at engaging in international public relations on the backs of the American people.”

“We say to the president of the United States that it is inappropriate to declare war on climate change,” said Mr. Pence, who also serves as chairman of a House Republican group dedicated to countering Democratic energy proposals.

The Republicans said Mr. Obama must avoid a repeat of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a carbon emissions reduction treaty that was signed by then Vice President Al Gore but never enacted by Congress.

“America lost a lot of credibility” over the broken promise, said Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican and the top GOP member on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, The Republicans added that the United States should halt work on any treaties or international agreements on climate change until it conducts an investigation of a recent scandal involving climate scientists apparently trying to downplay data and exclude dissenting opinions.

Mr. Sensenbrenner said that the “Climategate” scandal may be evidence of a worldwide conspiracy to cover up research that shows that climate change is not an immediate threat.

“I call it scientific fascism,” said Mr. Sensenbrenner, who has been selected for a congressional delegation attending the Copenhagen conference. “The U.N. should throw a red flag; it should call a time out. If it takes a year or two to get to the bottom of the Climategate scandal, so be it.”

“It’s now time for us to get real scientific information, scientific information that has been thoroughly and vigorously peer-reviewed, rather than have the United Nations and its scientific agencies end up being a hug propaganda organ for a preconceived notion.”

Rep. Joe L. Barton, Texas Republican, said agreeing to lower carbon emissions “would be putting our economy in a straitjacket that would cost millions of jobs per year, every year, for the next 20 to 30 years.”

Mr. Barton added that any attempt to do so by the administration would die in Congress.

“The environmental radicals have overplayed their hand,” he said. “This whole theory of man-made global warming is just that: It is a theory; it is not a fact.”