The wide-ranging climate deal between the U.S. and China may sound like good news for anyone who cares about curbing the effects of climate change, but it's bad news for politicians who just lost a top excuse for not doing anything about it.
As New York magazine's Jonathan Chait points out, Republicans have made something of a habit of opposing various policies to curb carbon emissions by arguing that it won't do any good overall because China, in particular, won't comply. The Wall Street Journal, in a recent editorial, mocked the very notion that the Obama administration could ever get China to agree to such a thing. And Mother Jones has compiled a whole video of Republicans driving home the point.
There's House Speaker John Boehner saying we can't possibly do much about climate change alone, and Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., noting there are big climate-related problems in China, India, and Mexico. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., made the highly illuminating point that "there are other countries that are polluting in the atmosphere much more than we are!"
The new deal—in which the U.S. has vowed to cut carbon pollution by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, and China pledged to achieve a peak in its carbon emissions by 2030 at the latest, as well as boosting its share of non-fossil-fuel energy to 20 percent by then—puts something of a damper on such arguments. Particularly as the U.S. and China together make up an estimated 45 percent of the world's greenhouse-gas emissions.