Hungary’s parliament voted unanimously in support of the United Nations Paris agreement to cut global greenhouse gas emissions Tuesday, making the eastern bloc country the first in the European Union to ratify the deal.
But Hungary’s ratification of the Paris agreement undermines U.S. President Barack Obama’s contention the deal doesn’t need to be ratified by the Senate.
The Obama administration contends the Paris deal is a political agreement, not a legally-binding treaty, therefore, it doesn’t need Senate approval as the U.S. Constitution requires for treaties. But Hungary’s needing of parliamentary approval for the deal, further undermines Obama’s keeping senators in the dark.
In fact, all 28 EU member states need parliamentary approval before they can join the Paris deal. Even Fiji, the first country to ratify the deal, got legislative approval to join the agreement.
Obama, however, is determined to keep the Paris deal out of the Republican-controlled Senate. Republicans have vowed to derail the UN deal, arguing it would harm the economy and is based on vague promises from China.
“The Paris agreement, like the Kyoto agreement, is full of empty promises that will have no meaningful impact on the climate,” Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe said in April. “The problem with international climate change agreements is that they ignore basic economic and political realities and therefore are doomed to failure.”
Inhofe’s staff put out a report of the failures of the Kyoto Protocol the day before Earth Day when 130 world leaders met in New York City to sign onto the Paris deal. Inhofe’s paper casts doubt on the success of Paris based on Kyoto’s failures.
“When the hype over the signing fades, the reality will set in that the policies President Obama is promising will not last,” he said. “President Obama is simply using this so-called ‘historic’ success to cement his legacy with environmental activists shortly before his term is up.”
The Senate likely won’t have their say on Paris because Obama won’t put it up for a vote. Senators’ best hope of derailing the climate deal is a Republican victory in the fall election — then the future president can simply not enforce the so-called political agreement.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump even said he would renegotiate the deal, sending environmentalists reeling.
“I will be looking at that very, very seriously, and at a minimum I will be renegotiating those agreements, at a minimum. And at a maximum I may do something else,” Trump recently told Reuters.
“But those agreements are one-sided agreements and they are bad for the United States,” Trump said. “Not a big fan because other countries don’t adhere to it, and China doesn’t adhere to it, and China’s spewing into the atmosphere.”
The outgoing UN climate chief shot back at Trump. Christiana Figueres told reporters it was “unlikely” Trump would be able to undo the Paris deal.
“As we all know, Donald Trump relishes making very dramatic statements on many issues, so it is not surprising, but it is highly unlikely that that would be possible,” she said.
“An agreement that has been adopted by 195 countries would require 195 countries to agree to any new negotiation,” she said.
Figueres is correct a new deal would require nearly 200 nations to agree, but Trump does not need the world’s consent to ignore the deal on his own.
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