Republican senators urged president Barack Obama to be more “forthcoming” with other countries about the limits of his executive power when it comes to the implementation of a historic UN climate treaty.
GOP lawmakers wrote in an open letter that they were concerned the current administration failed to be honest with the international community on the president authority’s limitations in “domestic actions.” The Paris climate deal first needs to get the Republican-controlled Senate’s approval before it comes into effect in the U.S.
The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works addressed the letter to John Kerry just days before UN members meet again to discuss further steps to make after the deal.
Lawmakers think the country’s commander-in-chief should be more honest with the 200 countries that signed the treaty earlier this year. In GOP’s view, Obama hasn’t made it clear that his executive power is not enough to stick to the climate change pledge.
“We urge you to be candid with parties to the agreement to preserve the diplomatic credibility of the United States,”
wrote the lawmakers.
In April, Obama promised that the U.S. will slash greenhouse gas emissions by up to 28 percent in the next ten years. The U.S. president’s actions, however, had a hidden goal i.e. to convince China to sign the agreement.
Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping ratified the treaty two months ago. The Asian country pledged to cap emissions by 2030. But there was no word on reducing climate change-causing emissions.
On the other hand, GOP accused Obama of trying to bypass Congress and rely on “sole executive authority” to implement the deal. Moreover, the GOP is concerned that the president’s attitude encourages future administrations to alter the course of the plan.
The Climate Treaty
Additionally, climate change pushers are concerned that Donald Trump would ignore the Paris deal as he has already promised to do. Law experts think it is hard to pull out of the treaty once it is in effect. So, White House officials are working around the clock to implement the agreement. They said they will push for implementation at the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) next week.
The administration described the treaty as a “turning point” which will pave the way for international action on climate change. A spokesperson for the National Security Council agreed. NSC’s head John Morton said the UN would intensify its efforts toward implementation.
Nevertheless, Obama administration has to clear one last hurdle. Many parts of its climate change agenda are challenged in courts. In September, a federal court heard arguments against the administration’s plan to regulate power plants, the so-called called Clean Power Plan (CPP). Also, dozens of private businesses and states challenged the plan in the country’s courts, with the Supreme Court ruling a stay in the plan several months ago.
States that ratified the climate agreement in Paris agreed to maintain temperature rise to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. Early last month, E.U. leaders cemented the deal. Fifty-five countries which account for just as much greenhouse gas emissions ratified the deal by Oct. 4. Next week, 200 countries will meet in Marrakech to find ways of implementing the treaty.
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