No Money, No Consent

Apr 22 2016

Today at United Nations Headquarters in New York City Secretary of State John Kerry and representatives of over 130 nations will sign the Framework Convention on Climate Change agreement that was negotiated in Paris last December.

According to President Obama, this “historic agreement” will “hold every country accountable” if they fail to meet its carbon emission targets.

The White House has also acknowledged that the agreement contains “legally binding” provisions designed to create a “long-term framework” that will force the United States and signatory countries to reduce carbon emissions for decades to come.

Despite these facts, President Obama has already announced he will not submit the Paris Climate Agreement to the Senate for advice and consent. Instead, the White House claims the signature environmental achievement of the president’s tenure is just an “international agreement” not meriting Senate attention.

If the stakes weren’t so high, this claim would be laughable on its face.

Not only was this agreement’s predecessor, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, submitted to the Senate and approved as a treaty, but when the Senate ratified that treaty, the Foreign Relations Committee specifically reported that any future emissions targets agreed to through the Convention “would have to be submitted to the Senate for its advice and consent.”

President Obama has chosen to ignore this directive.

He has also chosen to ignore the State Department’s eight-factor test that is used to determine “whether any international agreement should be brought into force as a treaty or as an international agreement other than a treaty” (you can read each of those eight factors here).

The only reason President Obama is not sending the Paris Climate Agreement to the Senate as a treaty is that he knows the Senate would handily reject it.

This is an unacceptable breach of Article II Section 2 of the Constitution, and Congress must do something about it.

If President Obama fails to do so, then Congress must prevent its implementation by forbidding any payments to the agreement’s “Green Climate Fund,” an international slush fund included in the Paris agreement to induce developing nations to sign the agreement.

If Congress fails to specifically prohibit taxpayer money from being spent implementing the Paris Climate Agreement, then they will be complicit in President Obama’s subversion of the Constitution.