Obama Doesn’t Need Senate To Approve Climate Deal, But Several Other Countries Do

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Many of the countries clamoring to sign the Paris climate agreement April 22 must get the parliamentary approval of their respective legislative bodies before signing the agreement meant to stave off global carbon emissions, Reuters reported Saturday.

That contrasts with comments made by the Obama administration suggesting the president does not need the approval of a Republican Senate to move forward on the agreement.

A senior administration official told CNN in December Congress doesn’t have to vote on the plan because it is an executive agreement.

“This agreement does not require submission to the Senate because of the way it is structured,” he said. “The targets aren’t binding.”

Fiji’s parliament ratified the Paris agreement in February, which allowed the country’s president to formally sign the climate deal in April, complicating President Barack Obama’s claim he doesn’t need the Senate to sign the agreement.

“His argument is that he says it isn’t really a treaty, in order to skirt the Senate’s shared role in this process,” Chris Horner, an attorney at the free market Competitive Enterprise Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Michael Bastasch in February.

Republicans bristled at Obama’s claim, with some saying the Paris deal will foist burdensome and overarching emissions restrictions on American industry, as well as give treasure troves of taxpayer money to undeveloped countries.

“Once again, this administration is all too eager for the international community to review its commitments before even revealing those commitments to the American people,” Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, told reporters.

The deal will need formal approval by at least 55 countries representing 55 percent of greenhouse gas emissions if it is to have any actual force. Experts believe this number can be reached before Obama vacates the White House.

The Paris agreement will cost more than $12 trillion over 25 years to implement if it is to make any kind of headway.

“The required expenditure averages about $484 billion a year over the period,” Bloomberg calculated in February, with assistance from the environmentalist nonprofit Ceres.

“Moving to clean energy is in every country’s interest and I am confident that climate action is an historic inevitability,” Maldives Environment Minister Thoriq Ibrahim, chair of the Alliance of Small Island States, told Reuters.

Things have changed considerably over the past 20 years, Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told reporters. Energy derived from wind turbines and solar panels is cheaper, and the science community agrees fossil fuel burning contributes to climate change.

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