President Obama doesnít speak for Congress on climate agreement
Congress has been very clear in opposing the presidentís climate change policies
by Wyoming Senators Enzi & Barrasso
November 4, 2016
Washington, D.C. Ė Earlier this year President Obama committed the United States to a climate change agreement in Paris without any approval from Congress.
U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyo., joined a group of senators earlier this week to express their concern that the Administration has not been honest in acknowledging the limitations of the presidentís climate change agreement. For an agreement to have the full force of law, it has to be approved by the Senate.
In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, the senators wrote that Congress has been very clear in opposing the presidentís climate change policies. The senators clarified that the presidentís use of the Clean Power Plan and the pathway the administration has taken leaves the Paris Agreement vulnerable to a host of legal challenges.
"Paris Agreement parties relying on fulfillment of promised U.S. climate actions should be fully aware that the administrationís Ďcommitmentí is opposed by the majority of congress, its legal soundness is questioned by the U.S. Supreme Court, and, under the best of circumstances, the country will fall short of meeting the 26 to 28 percent reduction by a range of forty-five to sixty percent," the senators said in the letter.
The senators noted that any future administration will have numerous options to forego President Obamaís political commitments under the Paris Agreement. According to witness testimony before the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, as a matter of law, political commitments are the same as the president giving a speech or stating something at a news conference.
The senators said they sent the letter now in order to ensure that other nations understand the limited nature of the United States commitment to the Paris Agreement before the upcoming United Nations Convention on Climate Change 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP-22) in Marrakech, Morocco.