Trump should let the Senate kill Obama’s climate treaty
By Phil Kerpen
When is a treaty not a treaty? According to the Obama administration, whenever the president says so. This claim is especially dubious with respect to the Paris agreement on global warming, which as Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has shown, is more ambitious than predecessor agreements that were universally accepted to be treaties.
Surely if President Obama possesses an asserted authority to declare an agreement identical in form and more ambitious in substance than previous treaties to be a non-treaty then President Trump will have the authority to reach the opposite, more plausible conclusion.
There is little doubt that the Trump administration will reject the Paris agreement, but the option of properly recognizing it as a treaty and allowing the Senate to formally reject it has several advantages.
First, it prevents the dangerous precedent of a president binding the country and his successor to international commitments without the broad support that the Constitution requires through the advice and consent process. Secondly, it sidesteps the question of whether the withdrawal provision of the Paris treaty itself forces us to wait four years before withdrawal is effective. Finally, it exposes as false the talking point that skepticism of the Paris agreement is outside the political mainstream.
John Kerry, who infamously declared global warming a greater threat to the United States than terrorism, gave his final speech on the subject this week to the UN functionaries in Marrakech, Morocco. He offered a soothing fantasy.
“No one should doubt the overwhelming majority of the citizens of the United States who know climate change is happening and who are determined to keep our commitments that were made in Paris,” Kerry said to applause.
Last week’s election emphatically showed the opposite. The Midwest delivered the White House to Trump, who dominated among the working class voters who care far more about how much they are paying to fill up the gas tank and keep their lights on than they do about what United Nations computer models predict about the climate in decades or centuries – the results of which show minimal change anyway. Appalachian voters in particular preferred Trump in a stunning 469 of 490 counties.
The Paris treaty is a magnificent example of the bad deals made for America that ultimately paved Donald Trump’s path to the White House.
Specifically, the Paris treaty effectively bans coal-fired power plants in the United States while China has 368 coal plants under construction and over 800 in the planning stage. India's coal production under the deal is projected to double by 2020. Even Europe is allowed to build coal plants. It forces Americans to endure painful cuts while the rest of the world continues with business as usual.
Even worse, American taxpayers will be forced to cough up $100 billion in climate-related foreign aid by 2020, with the promise of much more to follow.
Which brings us to the Senate.
Trump can submit the Paris treaty in full confidence that it will not pass with the required 67 votes in a body that has just 48 Democrats. The interesting question: how low can the vote total for this rotten deal go?
With ten Senate Democrats sitting in states Trump carried, many senators will be forced to choose between their green billionaire donors out in San Francisco and the voters they need to survive in 2018. And when the Senate votes the Paris treaty down, it will send an emphatic message to the world that – despite what John Kerry told his friends in Marrakech – the American people are with Trump on this, not Obama.