US Subject To UN ‘Justice’ Council If It Rejoins Paris Climate Pact

obama paris accord

obama paris accord

It appears possible that, come January, the United States will rejoin the 2015 Paris climate agreement, committing to adopt the “Green New Deal” agenda (now rebranded for political purposes as “Net Zero”).

This will not be accomplished by Senate ratification, but by the ‘pen and a phone’ approach first used by President Obama to claim U.S. “ratification” of what is on its face and by its history a treaty, requiring approval instead by a two-thirds Senate vote.

A document released last week by the State Department, in Freedom of Information Act litigation by the transparency group Energy Policy Advocates, includes a reminder of one consequence of this for America, should it occur: claiming to “rejoin” the Paris climate treaty will immediately subject U.S. energy policy — and thereby economic and to some extent trade policy — to a UN “climate conciliation commission.

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Already, as the United Kingdom has shown, developed nations’ courts can be expected to cite the Paris climate treaty in blocking infrastructure development.

The UK’s Court of Appeal ruled earlier this year that Heathrow Airport cannot be expanded because that would violate the UK’s ‘net zero’ commitment under Paris.

Then, Canada offered a reminder how progressive politicians will raise taxes in the name of complying with Paris: In Ottawa, “The parliamentary budget officer says the federal carbon tax would have to rise over the coming years if the country is to meet emission-reduction targets under the Paris climate accord.”

Now we are reminded that the U.S. can also expect a forum for antagonistic nations to bring their complaints about U.S. policy and claims of non-compliance with Paris’s required “Net Zero” agenda for resolution.

This might be one of the reasons that avoiding a Senate vote on Paris was a key objective of the Obama administration, which stated in August 2015 before there ever was even Paris text, that it would not be a “treaty”.

This was the lesson learned from the U.S. Senate’s refusal to consider the 1997 Kyoto treaty: If the Senate votes on it, its details would be debated—and defeated.

That objective of an end-run around the U.S. Constitution’s process was shared by European nations: the French climate change ambassador to the U.N. and President of the Paris COP, Laurence Tubiana, and Laurent Fabius, respectively, both openly admitted. 

Yet, those same countries treated Paris as a treaty for their own ratification purposes. This cavalier approach to the Constitution in the Obama years makes it easy to forget the U.S. supposedly has the more stringent system for joining international entanglements.

Instead, the Obama team showed what one Senate Foreign Relations Committee lawyer decried as a “disturbing contempt for the Senate’s constitutional rights and responsibilities” by circumventing its constitutional treaty role in Paris.

Unfortunately, the institution shrunk from a constitutional right, and all parties spoke as if calling Paris an “accord” instead carried weight — though the Kyoto Protocol was alternately called the “Kyoto Accord” and, yes, was still a treaty. 

This brings us to the newly released (in part) memo — “Request for Authority to Sign and Join the Paris Agreement, Adopted under the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change” [UNFCCC] — reaffirming that Paris is the result of “a 2011 negotiating mandate (the “Durban Platform”).”

The Durban “mandate” was to “adopt…a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force at the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties and for it to come into effect and be implemented from 2020.”

Read more at Government Accountability & Oversight

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