Contrary to President Obama's assertions, the COP-21 Paris climate agreement is a treaty and should be submitted to the Senate for its advice and consent. In a paper released today entitled The Paris Climate Agreement Is a Treaty Requiring Senate Review, The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) argues that Congress should upend Obama’s plan to use a non-ratified treaty to inflate the so-called Clean Power Plan and other EPA regulations into “promises” America has made to the world. The President seeks through the Paris Agreement to protect those policies from repeal by the next President, future Congresses, and even courts, and to lock in EPA’s unauthorized role as the nation’s climate policy lawmaker. President Obama is scheduled to sign the agreement on April 22, leaving a small window for Congress to intervene.
“As a GEICO ad might put it, ‘When you’re the United States, you keep your promises—it’s what you do.’ That’s why it is critical that Congress challenge Obama’s claim that the promises he made in Paris are commitments of the United States,” said CEI Senior Fellow and author of The Paris Climate Agreement Is a Treaty Requiring Senate Review Marlo Lewis. “Obama’s promises become commitments only if ratified by the Senate, because the Paris pact—‘the most ambitious climate agreement in history’—is a treaty.”
“President Obama has dodged the treaty process before when he knows his agenda won’t pass,” continued Lewis. “He did it with the Iran deal, and he’s doing with this climate agreement. Our government’s checks and balances are in place for instances just like this- to ensure that international agreements with far-reaching economic and political consequences go through a proper approval process.”
Lewis proposes that Congress issue a Sense of Congress resolution emphasizing a clear and simple message: The Paris Agreement is a treaty, and therefore, under Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the United States is not a party or bound to its terms unless the Senate ratifies it. Absent Senate approval, Obama’s climate pledges to the United Nations are just administration proposals, not commitments of the United States.