A major international conference on climate change is wrapping up last week in South Africa 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 are 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 Congress. 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.
It is not yet known what proposals U.S. negotiators will bring back from South Africa. But if any of them threaten the U.S. economy, members of Congress should again just say "no."