Andrea Mitchell Hails Obama's 'Landmark' Climate Deal; Slams GOP As Anti-Science

At the top of her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Wednesday, host Andrea Mitchell cheered President Obama "achieving a landmark climate agreement" with China to restrict carbon emissions: "I know this is going to take place over a long time, but – there are a lot of obstacles ahead, but this still marks a very big change from the stalemate between the U.S. and China..."

NBC chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson could barely contain her excitement: "Absolutely, this is a huge step forward in the transition to a low-carbon economy, Andrea....[it] sends a powerful signal to the business world and the rest of the world....very, very big developments in the battle against climate change."

Moments later, Mitchell grilled Republican Wyoming Senator John Barasso on GOP opposition to the proposed onerous regulations. Barasso explained: "To me, this is an agreement that's terrible for the United States and terrific for the Chinese government and for the politicians there, because it allows China to continue to raise their emissions over the next 16 years....I think it's irresponsible to impose expensive new regulations on energy in the United States, which makes us as a country less competitive economically."

Mitchell countered by ranting about comments from the incoming Senate Environmental Committee chairman, Oklohoma Republican James Inhofe:

He said, 'My point is God's still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we human beings would be able to change what....he is doing in the climate, to me, is outrageous"....Now you're a man of science, you're a medical doctor. This is what the incoming chairman of the Environmental Committee [said]. So why should, frankly, people trust Republicans to be running policy on science when this is what the incoming chairman has to say about climate change?

Mitchell perfectly matched the Democratic strategy, as reported by Politico, "to make Inhofe the face of GOP knownothingism..."

On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, Thompson fretted over Republicans "putting up roadblocks" to the climate deal.

Here are excerpts of Mitchell's November 12 exchanges with Thompson and Barasso:

12:00 PM ET

ANDREA MITCHELL: President Obama has landed in Myanmar, also known as Burma, for the second leg of his big Asia trip, after achieving a landmark climate agreement with China. The President and Chinese leader Xi Jinping finalized a wide-ranging deal that marks the first time China has ever agreed to cut greenhouse gases and transition to non-fossil fuels. It is the result of secret negotiations that have been under way for nine months.

NBC chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson joins me now from New York. Anne, I know this is going to take place over a long time, but – there are a lot of obstacles ahead, but this still marks a very big change from the stalemate between the U.S. and China when the President first went to Copenhagen as he took office in 2009 and China and India blocked any progress on global warming.  

ANNE THOMPSON: Absolutely, this is a huge step forward in the transition to a low-carbon economy, Andrea. When you consider that the U.S. and China are responsible for one-third of all the carbon emissions in the world, the fact that you have the two largest economies and the two largest emitters saying, "We are going to do something about this," sends a powerful signal to the business world and the rest of the world.

Here's what they have agreed to do. First of all, the United States would reduce its carbon emissions by 2025 from anywhere from 26 to 28%. China, on the other hand, has said it will cap or reach a peak of carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 and that it will increase its non-fossil-fuel-based energy, that means renewable energy and nuclear. It will grow to 20% by the year 2030. So those are two very, very big developments in the battle against climate change.

(...)

12:03 PM ET

MITCHELL: And joining me right now is Wyoming Senator John Barasso, chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee and a member of the Environment Committee and a medical doctor to boot. Well, Senator, first of all, we've already heard from Mitch McConnell, grave concerns that this is presidential overreach. It's a negotiation that took place for nine months, he could not have predicted that Republicans would take over. But what is going to be the policy of the Republican majority about this climate negotiation?

SEN. JOHN BARASSO [R-WY]: You know, Andrea, we're very concerned about the economy and jobs in the United States. To me, this is an agreement that's terrible for the United States and terrific for the Chinese government and for the politicians there, because it allows China to continue to raise their emissions over the next 16 years.

And remember, emissions in the United States have actually been going down over the last decade. So this is going to end up raising costs of energy for American families. People that are hurt the most are people of low income, people living on a fixed income. So I think it's irresponsible to impose expensive new regulations on energy in the United States, which makes us as a country less competitive economically.

MITCHELL: And there's also been criticism from chairman – incoming chairman Jim Inhoff. But I wanted to share with our audience something else that he said back in 2012, the incoming chairman of the Environment Committee. He said, "My point is God's still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we human beings would be able to change what" – excuse me – "would be able to change what he is doing in the climate, to me, is outrageous." So, apologies for that but we're going to leave it up there so people can read what Chairman Inhofe said.

Now you're a man of science, you're a medical doctor. This is what the incoming chairman of the Environmental Committee [said]. So why should, frankly, people trust Republicans to be running policy on science when this is what the incoming chairman has to say about climate change?

(...)

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