by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Christopher Horner and Marlo Lewis explain in a Competitive Enterprise Institute report why the United States should abandon the Paris climate agreement.
To claim he properly committed the U.S. to the Paris Agreement, President Obama pretended that way back in 1992, when the Senate consented to ratification of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, it also authorized unknown future executives to commit the United States to undertakings of far greater cost and risk. …
… The Paris Agreement is no mere ‘update’ of the UNFCCC. Given its prescriptiveness, ambition, costs, risks, dependence on subsequent legislation by Congress, and intent to affect state laws, the Paris Agreement—no less than the Kyoto Protocol and in key respects more so—is a whole new treaty. Alternatively, the Paris Agreement amends the UNFCCC into a very different treaty from that which the United States ratified. Either way, it purports to commit the U.S. to treaty-like obligations without Senate approval.
If allowed to stand as precedent, Obama’s end-run around the treaty making process, along with the implicit assertion that the executive can unilaterally decide whether or not an agreement is subject to Senate review, would undermine one of the Constitution’s most important checks and balances.
Far from being toothless, the Paris Agreement would compel U.S. leaders to continually negotiate domestic energy policy with a coalition of foreign governments, multilateral agencies, and environmental pressure groups, all exaggerating climate change risks, and all demanding urgent action to restrict America and the world’s access to affordable, plentiful, reliable carbon-based energy.