Are the Paris climate change decisions binding on the United States
First I want to make one point perfectly clear about climate change and the environment. If it can be proven that climate change is a real issue and is something we as humans can drastically play a role in impacting it I would embrace it. The problem is that the information currently available does not clearly confirm the concept of climate change. The agreement as it has been called in Paris from what has been reported seems to ignore all the data thereby making the conclusion lack reliability.
The decisions made in Paris about climate change are not a done deal as far as the United States is concerned. The President of France recently made a statement that the decision by the United States to accept the rules and actions is irreversible. It has been called an agreement when in fact it is a treaty and as such requires consent and approval by the Senate according to the Constitution. Using the word agreement in this situation does not change the fact that it is a treaty as identified in the definition provided below:
the action of treating and especially of negotiating
an agreement or arrangement made by negotiation: (1) : private treaty (2) : a contract in writing between two or more political authorities (as states or sovereigns) formally signed by representatives duly authorized and usually ratified by the lawmaking authority of the state b : a document in which such a contract is set down
The point made in the second paragraph is that it is a contract in writing between two or more political authorities formally signed by representatives duly authorized and usually ratified by the lawmaking authority of the state. In this respect the ratification aspect involves the Senate in approving this agreement according to our Constitution is the Senate.
The definition above was taken from Merriam-Webster online dictionary
Another definition for the word treaty is provided below. It was taken from yourdictionary.com.
A treaty involves negotiation which did take place in the Paris agreement. Another point in the definition cited below is a formal agreement between two or more nations, relating to peace, alliance, trade, etc. The final aspect is a document embodying such an agreement.
The definition criteria identified above was from yourdictionary.com and it signifies that agreements between two or more nations are in fact treaties and as such require that they be ratified by the Senate. This agreement as it has been called did not have such ratification in fact it was never presented for review and acceptance. The statement by the President of France has no weight or impact on our decision process according to our Constitution.
The Paris agreement is just one example and other agreements which have taken place fall in the same category especially if they involve other countries. It is also important to note that the details, all details of agreements or side agreements from the primary document must be provided to the Senate. Information which is not complete nullifies any acceptance of the information provided. Another fact which needs to be identified with respect to the climate change agreement in Paris is that there are differences of opinions whether climate change really exists. Promoting action on a topic such as climate change without validating its existence or taking into account differences of opinion does not lend to an atmosphere of credibility.
Billions of dollars may be involved with regards to making changes which is projected to make a difference when in fact figures have been presented that 1/10 of 1 percent of the current situations may be improved. We live in a world where weather across the world have trends with regards to the weather we have for a period of time. These changes which are a normal progression of temperature change do not confirm that climate change is a real threat or even exist. Scientists who have different opinions from the political world are ridiculed and their data ignored as it does not fit the political agenda.
Weather changes from one year to another are something we have come to accept as the normal process of the climate in which we live. Many things can impact weather events but human activity is not one of them to the extent political leaders would have us believe. The new administration must take a stand on this current agreement as it has been called to determine if it is in agreement with our Constitution. The question to be answered or decided is whether the President or the executive department involved in the negotiation has the authority to make agreements without congressional approval. The answer is clear Congress and specifically the Senate must be involved with any acceptance of such negotiations.