United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is dismayed at congressional opposition to regulations aimed at fighting global warming, though he’s glad President Barack Obama has decided to ignore Congress.
“Unfortunately. I’m concerned,” Ki-moon told The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel in an interview when asked about Republican opposition to the U.N.’s Paris treaty.
“But I do appreciate President Obama’s strong commitment,” Ki-moon said. “He knew that, with all this opposition of the Republican Party’s stance, he may not be able to have all this legally—through a legal process. But he also has executive power. He will do whatever he can under his executive power.”
The one shining light for the South Korean, however, is Obama using “executive power” to regulate carbon dioxide emissions and curb fossil fuel use.
“It has given a certain negative wave to the international community,” Ki-moon said. “But I believe President Obama’s assurances that he will do whatever he can do under his presidential executive power.”
Ki-moon has overseen the drafting of an international climate agreement which is expected to be signed by world leaders on Earth Day — April 22nd. The agreement is supposed to replace the Kyoto Protocol and will go into effect once enough countries sign it.
Obama plans to sign the agreement, but is facing intense opposition from Republicans who say the president can’t sign the agreement without getting Senate approval.
Obama, however, says since the treaty is non-binding — based on voluntary pledges to cut CO2 emissions — he doesn’t need Senate approval. Ki-moon said parts of the agreement are binding while others are non-binding.
“This is an international agreement; thus, it’s obligatory. It’s not that all the clauses, all the articles, are obligatory,” he told Strassel. “But core elements are. For example, the national targets, Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, are not binding. But every five years, this will be monitored and reviewed, and in 2018, the parties will gather to review what happened from 2015 until 2018.”
“From then on, every five years there will be monitoring and reporting,” he said. “This is mandatory. And there is much, much more possibility that member states will have an opportunity to verify which country has done how much. This is an obligatory clause.”
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