WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama is heading to the Copenhagen climate talks with empty promises on curbing US greenhouse gas emissions that he cannot fulfill, a top lawmaker said Sunday.
"He doesn't have that power to do that. And people in other countries don't realize that," Republican Senator James Inhofe, a leading critic of global warming legislation, told Fox News Sunday.
See Newsmax's inverview with Inhofe: "Sen. Inhofe on Climate Change: "Too Much Flat-Out Lying." Click Here Now.
Inhofe said he wanted to press the message home in the final week of the Copenhagen conference that Obama will not be able to follow through on a pledge to cut emissions by 17 percent by 2020 off 2005 levels as he will not get the necessary legislation through Congress.
"That's (the) reason I'm going, to make sure people in these other 191 countries know the president can't do that," Inhofe said.
The House of Representatives in June narrowly approved a plan to cut carbon emissions along those lines, but the legislation is now stuck in the Senate, which is not going to take it up again until next year.
It is likely to face stiff opposition from Republicans, who, with their allies in big business, fear the costs of implementing emissions cuts will hit profit margins.
"It's dead on arrival at the floor," said Inhofe. "Everybody knows that.
"And we're not going to have legislation. So it has to come down to what can the president do without legislation. And I think that is highly limited."
But Democratic Congressman Ed Markey, the author of the House cap-and-trade bill, said he believed there was an impetus towards sealing a deal to curb emissions by imposing limits on industry.
"There is real momentum now building for a bipartisan bill to pass through the United States Senate," he told Fox News Sunday.
He disagreed with Infohe saying the president had the authority to make commitments to tackle global warming now the administration has decreed that greenhouse gases endanger public health.
The US government said earlier this month it would start to regulate carbon dioxide as a dangerous pollutant, sidestepping the divided Congress.
The decision paves the way for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue standards on how much carbon US factories, buildings and cars can emit, even though legislation has yet to pass through the Congress.