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Republicans Request Scientific Justification for Paris Agreement Emissions Reductions Commitment

(Washington, DC) Ahead of the November meeting of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26), the Republican members of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee sent a letter to President Joe Biden today asking for information on how the Administration set its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for the Paris Agreement.

The Administration’s commitment to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 was made without any public release of the data, analysis, or decision-making that informed that pledge. This is particularly troubling given that this pledge is nearly double one made under the Obama Administration which was estimated to cost the U.S. economy $3 trillion and 6.5 million industrial sector jobs.

“At a time when employment rates struggle to recover, consumer prices surge, and inflation continues to rise, any additional burdens without solid justification could send our economy into an unrecoverable spiral,” the Members wrote. “At just the surface level, your target sparks serious concerns, including those around feasibility, loss of jobs, grid reliability, and access to affordable energy.”

This is the Committee’s second attempt to obtain information about the calculus behind the Administration’s pledges. In response to an oversight letter sent in May requesting information about the models and data used to determine these emissions targets, the White House took two months to respond and merely sent information from a fact sheet published on the White House website.

“This response does not satisfy the request for a briefing or provide an adequate response to the specific questions posed in the initial letter,” the Members wrote. “This lack of transparency is especially concerning given your Administration’s pledge to restore the public’s trust in science and policymaking.”

The Member requested a timely response from the White House ahead of the approaching UN Climate Change Conference. “Given the potential for the United States delegation to solidify this commitment or offer higher ones at COP 26, we ask that this briefing take place before November 1, 2021.”

The full letter is available here.

Read the initial oversight request here.

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