White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday that senators who “deny” man-made global warming probably shouldn’t have any say over an international agreement to cut carbon dioxide emissions.
“Well these are individuals whom, many of whom at least, deny the fact that climate change even exists,” Earnest said when asked by a reporter. “So I’m not sure they would be in the best position to decide whether or not a climate change agreement is one that is worth entering into.”
The Obama administration submitted a plan to the United Nations Tuesday to cut carbon dioxide emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025 as part of an agreement the president made with China last fall. In return, China said it would peak emissions by 2030 and use more green energy.
Republicans, however, have criticized Obama’s UN plan, saying they would never approve an international climate deal. But therein lies the rub for Republicans, because Obama has no intention of crafting an agreement that requires Senate approval.
Indeed, the New York Times reported that Secretary of State John Kerry “and other State Department officials are working closely with their foreign counterparts to ensure that the Paris deal does not legally qualify as a treaty” which means it won’t need Senate approval.
The White House, however, tried to deflect away from questions regarding the legal status of the agreement, saying it would be good for the economy.
“The fact is, the kind of agreement that the president succeeded in striking with China, and is implementing here in the United States, is one that will have a positive impact on carbon pollution, will have a positive impact on trying to make the air safer for Americans here in our country,” Earnest said. “And will have a positive impact on our economy. That’s why the president is pursuing this so aggressively. We certainly would welcome any kind of support that we could get from Congress on that measure.”
But reporters pressed him further, asking Earnest if this climate agreement would require congressional approval. Earnest again questioned whether or not global warming “deniers” should even be allowed to vote on the agreement.
“Well, again, I think it’s hard to take seriously from some members of Congress who deny the fact that climate change exists, that they should have some opportunity to render judgment about a climate change agreement,” Earnest said.
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