Climate Negotiators Actively Sidestepping US Congress

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In December, the global community actually worried about anthropologic climate change will be meeting in Paris.  The goal: force developed nations to put a cap on the amount of carbon emitted to the atmosphere by industry.  Supposedly, extra carbon in the atmosphere creates greenhouse gases making things warmer which is a problem on a planet that’s cooling even though the climate people keep telling us it’s warming.

(Carbon is number 6 on the Periodic Table of Elements.  It’s one of the building blocks of nature.  Do these people think we did not pay attention in high school biology and chemistry?)

In order to meet this goal of getting developed nations to “play ball” as it were on global climate change and limiting industry, there needs to be some sort of enforceable treaty or agreement.  Unfortunately, for the Europeans and others, in the United States all treaties have to go through the Senate in order to be ratified and therefore enforceable by government, and the busybodies know that any treaty that would put limits on American industry would be voted down faster than background checks at an NRA rally.

The global climate agreement being negotiated this year must be worded in such a way that it doesn’t require approval by the U.S. Congress, the French foreign minister said Monday.

Laurent Fabius told African delegates at U.N. climate talks in Bonn that “we know the politics in the U.S. Whether we like it or not, if it comes to the Congress, they will refuse.”

If negotiators follow his plan, that would exclude an international treaty that has legally-binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions – something some countries still insist on but which would have no chance of being ratified by the Republican-controlled Congress.

So, the plan is to word the agreement in such a way that Congress would not get a say and make it not a treaty?  Hate to tell the French foreign minister this, but that does not necessarily make the agreement legal in the United States.  In and of itself any agreement signed specifically circumventing the Constitution as it is laid out is an invitation for a trip to the U.S. Supreme Court which has been regularly slapping down the Obama Administration for illegal power grabs.  Simply by not calling an agreement a treaty or playing with the wording may not cut it.

What is interesting, though, that while the Europeans seem to recognize that American law requires treaties to be ratified in Congress, even if they don’t quite get that it’s only one side, they forget that Barack Obama and his entourage leave the White House on January 20, 2017, either voluntarily or by force.

The Obama administration has pledged to reduce U.S. emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

Peruvian Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal said he was “completely sure that we will have an agreement in Paris,” despite the complex political situation in the U.S.

Jennifer Morgan, a climate policy expert at the World Resources Institute, said it was encouraging that Fabius was raising the legal issue now so it can be dealt with before the Paris conference.

If the international sorts think that Obama can just wave his magic Mont Blanc and create the agreement via executive order, they must understand also that his successor can flick his Bic ballpoint and make that executive order go away.  What Fabius, Pulgar-Vidal, Morgan, et al., want is for the United States to bend over and do their will.  But, they also get that it won’t happen all that easily if at all.

Naturally, equity between rich and poor countries is the stated goal from those doing the negotiating.  How they think the richest country on the planet will just voluntarily sign an agreement on production limits is another story.

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About the Author

Cultural Limits
A resident of Flyover Country, Cultural Limits is a rare creature in American Conservatism - committed to not just small government, Christianity and traditional social roles, but non-profits and high arts and culture. Watching politics, observing human behavior and writing are all long-time interests. In her other life, CL writes romance novels under her nom de plume, Patricia Holden (@PatriciaHoldenAuthor on Facebook), and crochets like a mad woman (designs can be found on Facebook @BohemianFlairCrochet and on Pinterest on the Bohemian Flair Crochet board). In religion, CL is Catholic; in work, the jill of all trades when it comes to fundraising software manipulation and event planning; in play, a classically trained soprano and proud citizen of Cardinal Nation, although, during hockey season, Bleeds Blue. She lives in the Mid-Mississippi River Valley with family and two cute and charming tyrants...make that toy dogs.

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