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President Barack Obama is expected to make a big show of “ratifying” the COP-21 Paris Climate Agreement in a signing ceremony with Chinese President Xi Jinping before the G20 Summit begins on September 4.
The Paris Agreement does not impose legally binding restrictions on emissions for developed or developing countries, and it also imposes no binding commitment to fund the Green Climate Fund intended to pay reparations to developing countries. Spokespersons for Obama claim the agreement does both, yet at the same time claim it is not a treaty requiring ratification by the U.S. Senate.
The following statements from climate and legal experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at email@example.com and 312/377-4000.
“It is an absolute disgrace that President Obama would assume powers found nowhere in our Constitution to sign a treaty that has never been considered by our Congress – which would reject it if given the opportunity. To take such a hollow and illegal step as he ends his presidency should tarnish his legacy forever as a man who thought himself king, not president.
“The treaty was a sham from the beginning, which would foist more and more economic harm on the poorest of the poor around the world. Vast resources have been spent on a problem – human-caused catastrophic climate change – that does not exist. It has no scientific validity but continues to rob more than a billion people in the world who have no electric power or access to adequate sanitation and water supply. Human-caused global warming is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on society.”
“For a reputed former constitutional law professor, President Obama seems to show little knowledge of – or regard for – the actual U.S. Constitution, except in his efforts to avoid it.
“Put aside, if you can, that the enumerated powers of the federal government do not include determining what fuel sources Americans may or may not use, much less ‘saving the earth.’ Put aside also that global climate science is not – contrary to popular belief – an issue to be ‘settled’ by a majority vote of either politicians or scientists.
“One not need be a skeptic on the subject of anthropogenic warming climate (née ‘global warming’) to understand that Article II of the Constitution provides that the president may make treaties only with the advice and consent of two-thirds of the Senate. Calling yet another treaty with a foreign government an ‘executive agreement’ is, simply and sadly, yet another gross abuse of power by an administration that reputedly should know better.”
“The irony is overwhelming as President Obama heads to China, a country with an unelected dictator, to unilaterally ‘ratify’ the Paris climate treaty through executive order, even though the U.S. Constitution expressly states the president does not have this power, and that all treaties must be ratified by the Senate.
“With no ratification by the Senate forthcoming, the president’s insistence he can legally bind the United States to this agreement through the use of an executive order is exactly the opposite of what the Founding Fathers envisioned when they drafted the Constitution. They saw the devastation that occurred when powerful men could unilaterally bind a nation to a course of action without allowing input from the citizens of that nation, and specifically limited the power of the president for that reason.
“President Obama’s belief he can do whatever he wants because he’s the president, Senate be damned, is un-American and dangerous the people of the United States.”
“The president can go ahead and ‘ratify’ the Paris climate agreement if he so chooses. He can even enter a blood pact with Xi Jinping over it if he thinks that will bring more dramatic heft to the ceremony. Nothing Obama says or does, however, will change the fact there is no single binding enforcement mechanism in the entire treaty. In fact, the agreement’s language was specifically crafted to avoid phrasing that could be considered legally binding. Even Obama’s own Secretary of State, John Kerry, has admitted ‘it doesn’t have mandatory targets for [temperature] reduction and it doesn’t have an enforcement, compliance mechanism.’
“Let Obama have his little play ceremonies with his little play treaty. The rest of us will be back here in reality. It is just unfortunate he isn’t holding the ceremony with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instead, so he could engage in even more elaborate forms of kabuki.”
“President Obama is intent on building his legacy (off the golf course) by adding his signature to the COP-21 Paris Climate Agreement. Calling this treaty an ‘executive agreement’ does not change the facts. This executive overreach will weaken U.S. sovereignty and burden U.S. consumers and our energy industry in the name of a delusion. This is merely symbolic, but symbolism trumps facts in Washington, DC.
“Looked at that way, the joint signing ceremony with Chinese President Xi Jinping is the perfect legacy for this administration. Mission accomplished.
“Meanwhile in the face of President Obama’s acts and the coordinated attack on ‘climate deniers,’ Congressional leadership and most members of Congress will jump on television to get air time. It’s the DC Dance: Bluster, raise campaign funds, and do nothing to actually stand up to executive overreach and the climate mafia. Congress is spineless or complicit, take your pick.”
Ms. Grande represented the 41st District in the North Dakota Legislature from 1996 to 2014.
“The climate photo-op with President Obama and President Xi Jinping will be all show, no go.
“First, Obama’s signing of the agreement will have no real force in the U.S., and he is soon to be an ex-president. If any future president fails to submit the agreement to the Senate for ratification, it will not have the force of law, and any regulations written to impose it would have little or no legal support in court.
“Second, China has no real commitments to reduce emissions under the Paris agreement, so it’s a no-brainer for China to sign. They end up looking good on the public stage, while going on their merry way as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. China may or may not reach peak emissions in 2030, but if they don’t nothing in this agreement forces them to actually cap or cut emissions after that. Nor does any part of the Paris agreement specify how high China’s emissions will be when they peak.”
“I am disgusted that President Obama is more interested in the politics of the issue than the reality of factors controlling our environment.”
“President Obama is using his typical means to hobble U.S. energy production by use of executive orders to bypass Congress, which is the sounding board of the public. This nefarious act should be brought up for discussion during the campaign for president this fall. Possibly a public outcry may stop this nonsense. The Obama administration’s energy policies have always chosen poverty over prosperity.”
“Signing up for the Paris agreement is to pledge unquestioning faith in demonstrably failed computer modeling and engage in a technological unicorn hunt which is bankrupting everyone who has attempted it.”
“President Obama knows that any possibility of him ‘ratifying’ the United Nations’ Paris climate agreement without the U.S. Senate is nothing more than a symbolic sham. Obama will surely do his best play acting and pretend the ‘ratification’ has actual meaning, but as a former constitutional law professor, even he knows better.
“Obama is attempting to take a page from China’s government and wishes he could just bypass democracy’s hurdles and impose a new U.N. treaty on Americans.”
“Developing countries, the source of most of today’s carbon dioxide emissions, have indicated that they have no intention of limiting their development for ‘climate protection’ purposes. For example, on July 18, when reminded of his country’s commitment to limit its CO2 emissions by a foreign ambassador, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines is cited on the Philippine Daily Inquirer website as responding: ‘We have not reached the age of industrialization. But you are trying to stymie [our growth] with an agreement [the Paris climate agreement] that says you can only go up to here. That’s stupid. I will not honor that.’
“It is only a matter of time before the leaders of other developing countries say the same. And they can do so with a completely clear conscience since the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the foundation of the Paris Climate Agreement, states clearly in Article 4 that ‘economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of the developing country Parties,’ not climate change.
“By ‘ratifying’ the Paris agreement, President Obama is sucking the United States into another Kyoto Protocol in which Americans will spend hundreds of billions of dollars to reduce emissions while most of the world does nothing at all. Even if it were true that humanity’s CO2 emissions were a problem, the Paris Climate Agreement would have negligible climate impact and so it is all pain no gain for the United States, and indeed all developed nations.”
The Heartland Institute is a 32-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our website or call 312/377-4000.