Why Republicans contend any pact from climate change conference will be a treaty
Any pact emerging from this week’s Paris climate summit is effectively a treaty, according to Republican U.S. senators who oppose greenhouse gas limits.
If the deal is a treaty, it could be rejected by the U.S. Senate, the Washington Post reports. “That would be a setback for Obama and for international momentum on the climate issue,” the story says, “but it would be consistent for Republicans who have repeatedly skewered the president for what they view as his overreaching use of executive power.”
The Obama administration relies on two points as it argues that the agreement isn’t a treaty, according to the Post. First, the White House argues that the president already has the authority to carry out climate commitments as a result of the Clean Air Act and the United Nations Framework on Climate Change signed by former President George H.W. Bush.
Second, the administration says that any deal would not be a treaty because it would not be legally binding. Though the pact would bind countries to a process, it wouldn’t bind them to an outcome, such as specific emissions targets, the White House contends.
Thirty Republican senators vied for a say-so with a sense-of-the-Senate resolution introduced earlier this month. The resolution says any agreements should be submitted to the senate “whether deemed ‘legally binding’ or not.” Absent submission of the agreement, Congress will not budget money to a U.N. fund to fight climate change, the resolution says.