A major international conference on climate change wrapped up in South Africa last year and, as usual, the United States has been under fire for refusing to agree to a treaty mandating draconian new emissions controls.
U.S. negotiators at the Durban conference were well aware the sought-after treaty would devastate our nation's economy. It would wreck some states where coal is a critical facet of the economy.
President Barack Obama has made it clear - despite his pre-election claims before he was elected in 2008 - he would love to shut down the coal industry and close every coal-fired power plant in the nation. The negotiators he sent to Durban have rejected a treaty, however, out of realism.
Treaties such as the infamous "Kyoto Protocol" in 1997 must be approved by the U.S. Senate. Lawmakers refused to ratify the Kyoto proposal, recognizing it would give countries such as China breaks on air pollution regulations, while holding the United States to severe, expensive cuts.
If U.S. negotiators have brought back from South Africa any proposals that threaten the U.S. economy, members of Congress should again just say "no."