Energy & Environment

President Obama plotting end run around Senate to get climate deal

President Obama plotting end run around Senate to get climate deal

This article originally appeared on heartland.org.

President Barack Obama is reportedly attempting to forge an international climate change deal without gaining U.S. Senate approval for a treaty as required by the Constitution.

It is virtually certain the Senate will not ratify any new international climate change agreement, especially if it includes legally binding U.S. greenhouse gas emission reductions. Therefore, the Obama administration is shaping what it hopes will be a “politically binding” agreement. The administration will attempt to tack on to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), a treaty President George H.W. Bush signed and the Senate ratified in 1992.

Obama hopes to have his addendum to the 1992 treaty ready to present for signatures at the next United Nations climate meeting in Paris in 2015.

Obama’s plan is a hybrid agreement, combining legally binding conditions of the 1992 UNFCC with voluntary commitments by countries to enact climate change policies for reducing emissions by specific amounts and sending money to poor countries. Rather than an enforcement mechanism, the agreement would, in the words of negotiators, “name and shame” countries into cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Since there are no legally binding targets or specific punishments tied to the commitments, Obama administration surrogates say the new agreement would not require Senate ratification.

Congressional reaction has been sharply critical of Obama’s plan.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) issued a statement saying, “Once again, the president is trying to go around Congress and ignore Americans who cannot afford more expensive, extreme energy regulations.”

House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) said in a statement, “This is yet another example of a president who is willing to ignore the rule of law to get what he wants.”

“We will continue to fight the president’s economy-crushing domestic greenhouse gas regulations,” said Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) in a statement.

“U.S. economic competitiveness is hanging in the balance, and additional U.S. restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions will only hurt the United States as other nations like Australia either scrap or water down their unsuccessful green dream policies,” Inhofe added.

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