GAO’s Horner: Send Paris Treaty to Senate, Head Off Further Adventurism

From today’s Washington Times:

When Obama made the Paris climate agreement end run
Failure to act on its revival guarantees more such adventurism in a Biden-Harris administration

Recently, conservatives have called on President Trump to transmit the Paris climate agreement to the Senate as a treaty requiring “advice and consent” before it can in any way bind the United States, which Paris on its face so clearly is with its promises of adding ever-tightening regulations every five years, in perpetuity.

Doing so would restore the Senate’s role in our treaty process, and also protect Americans’ economy and system of governance…

Although a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit has revealed that an attorney for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time of Mr. Obama’s Paris end-run decried this “disturbing contempt for the Senate’s constitutional rights and responsibilities,” the body did nothing.

Failure to act on Paris, now, guarantees we will see more such unilateral adventurism in a Biden-Harris administration on Iran and a host of other matters where Mr. Biden’s position lacks popular support.

Declaring Paris to be a treaty not only would pre-empt a President Biden from credibly “re-entering” Paris, as he vows to do on his first day in office. It also would smother in the crib the inevitable “Paris II,” with incoming “climate czar” John Kerry already loudly proclaiming, “Paris is not enough.”…

We know that progressive state attorneys general have malign intent; one of them, Massachusetts’ Maura Healey, promised Michael Bloomberg’s climate litigation group that any attorneys it provided her office would “be focused on ensuring that Massachusetts and neighboring states meet the long-term commitments set forth … in the Paris Agreement.”…

Longtime United Nations climate official Yvo de Boer acknowledged, “[t]he only way that a 2015 agreement [Paris] can achieve a 2-degree goal is to shut down the whole global economy.” That is why the Obama White House hailed Paris as more significant than all climate agreements that came before it – “the most ambitious climate change agreement in history,” more so than the Kyoto and UNFCCC treaties. It also is the reason for the audacious end-run around the Senate: The United States lacks popular support for, and indeed would never approve such commitments.

Presidential transmittal of Paris declaring it to be a treaty will undermine any claim that Paris compels U.S. action or inaction. It creates a dispute that cannot be undone by another president. Only the Senate can finally resolve it, one way or the other. And as French diplomat Laurent Fabius put it, “Whether we like it or not, if it comes to the Congress, they will refuse.”

Lacking Senate consent and with express disagreement among concurrent administrations, there would be no doubt that any claimed U.S. commitment to Paris was anything but a political commitment.

Any U.S. promises would be deemed “politically binding” at most, with no hope that adventurous courts or commissions of any gravity will issue the desired and otherwise certain rulings against U.S. economic development grounded in a supposed Paris commitment.

Mr. Obama’s Paris dare was an outrageous, brazen one that the Senate even more outrageously shied from confronting at the time. The sole cure is for Mr. Obama’s successor to restore our process, and the Senate’s role, and transmit Paris as a treaty requiring “advice and consent”.

Failing to do so, and allowing the Obama “climate coup” to stand, would enable future presidents to unilaterally adopt any treaties they and foreign elites want, simply by deeming them “not a treaty.” Such abandonment of our balance of powers in turn imperils American self-governance, and leaves U.S. energy and economic policies beholden to the demands of foreign leaders, U.N. bureaucrats and international pressure groups.

Read the entire piece here.

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