There’s great excitement amongst the Climate Alarmist Community about the Paris Conference scheduled for November 2015. Much preparatory work is being done, papers being published, hopes expressed. They’re looking for a ‘Son of Kyoto’ agreement, described as “a new, universal climate change agreement”. This despite the fact that the RSS data have shown no global warming for 18½ years – so either the measures taken already have been enormously successful or perhaps climate change is not quite the threat they thought it was. In either of these events, it’s difficult to see quite why further measures are needed.
It’s worth casting our minds back to the original Kyoto agreement adopted in 1997. The Clinton Administration signed that Treaty, subject to Congressional ratification but in the sure and certain knowledge that Congress would certainly not ratify an agreement which clearly disadvantaged America on a grand scale while leaving developing countries largely unscathed.
This position remained the same under the Bush presidency which followed Clinton, though while Clinton would have ratified if he could, Bush clearly (and rightly in my view) had no intention of ratifying it.
More recently, Obama has come up against resistance to his environmental plans and has been unable to reach Congressional agreement. He has adopted a novel solution. He has imposed draconian environmental measures on America by means of Executive Orders, via the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many in Washington, especially on the Republican side, feel that this wide-scale use of Executive Orders to make policy in defiance of Congress represents a direct assault on the checks and balances embodied in the US Constitution.
So where does that leave the Paris 2015 plans? The UN and its supporters in the ‘Universal Climate Agreement’ project are well aware that the USA cannot sign up to international treaties without Congressional approval, and they also know that such approval will not be forthcoming. But they have watched with interest the ‘Obama Doctrine’ and the use of Executive Orders by-passing Congress.
So they have hit upon the scheme of avoiding the ‘treaty’ word altogether and calling the deal merely “an agreement”. Brits and Europeans will immediately see a parallel with the ‘European Constitution’ of 2005 which would have required ratification by EU member-states. Knowing that such ratification would not be forthcoming from all member-states, the EU institutions adopted the simple device of changing the name, from European Constitution to Lisbon Treaty, with the deliberate objective of by-passing the ratification requirement. They have learned their lesson well and are applying the same thinking to Paris.
President Obama has made it clear that in his view Paris will not require a two-thirds Senate majority (as would have otherwise been the case) because (he’ll say) it’s not a treaty but a voluntary agreement (as if accession to treaties were not normally voluntary).
But the current draft of the Paris agreement includes provision for an “International Climate Justice Tribunal in order to oversee, control and sanction the fulfillment of and compliance with the obligations of Annex I and Annex II Parties under this agreement”. That’s an enforcement mechanism which would deal with non-compliance. So it’s not a voluntary agreement. It’s a treaty in all but name. The reluctance of American legislators to subject their country to international or supranational institutions is well known, not least in the case of the International Criminal Court.
The climate obsession has already seen President Obama stretching the American Constitution, by-passing Congress with the use of Executive Orders. But this deliberate and cynical attempt to by-pass the Constitution’s provisions on Congressional ratification of international treaties goes a great deal further. It is perhaps not too much to say that the President appears to be dismantling the American Constitution one step at a time. He may well find that the American Congress and the American people take a rather hostile view of this process.
For more on this, there’s an excellent article by my old friend Chris Horner in the Washington Times and I have made extensive use of his piece in drafting this post.