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Saturday, September 3, 2016
Commie legislature ratifies climate deal; Obama decrees US ratification
The Communist legislature of China voted to ratify the Paris climate accords yesterday, leading to President Xi declaring the agreement now in effect in China.
Meanwhile, President Obama also declared the ratification of the climate deal – but sort of forgot to take it to the Senate to get its approval. He just waved his scepter, and ratification came into being.
Did you ever think you'd see the day when Communists would teach America a lesson about the democratic process?
In a ceremony in Hangzhou, China, Mr. Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping deposited each country's official "instrument of acceptance" with U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon to join the agreement.
Separately, Mr. Obama and Mr. Xi agreed on a side deal aimed at curbing other pollutants in the U.S. and China. They committed to "freeze" the production of hydrofluorocarbons, the chemicals often used in air conditioning and refrigeration, and cut aviation emissions by an unspecified date, possibly as early as 2021.
The U.N. climate-change pact cannot take effect until 55 nations representing 55 percent of worldwide carbon emissions formally ratify the agreement. The U.S. and China, the world's two largest emitters, represent about 38 percent of total global emissions.
With the formal entry of Washington and Beijing into the deal, the agreement now has been joined by 25 nations representing slightly more than 40 percent of total emissions. Mr. Obama is hoping to push the agreement to completion by the end of this year as one of his prime legacy goals.
White House climate adviser Brian Deese said Saturday's action is intended to "provide confidence to other countries" to join the pact. He said there are commitments from more than 55 nations, including Brazil, Argentina and South Korea.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has said he would cancel the agreement if elected. Mr. Deese said despite opposition by Mr. Trump and by many Republicans in Congress, there is "broad support" among the public and the business community for an international climate agreement.
"We're quite confident the United States will continue to be a part of this agreement going forward," he said.
Environmental groups hailed the move. Greenpeace East Asia's senior climate policy adviser Li Shuo said "political ambition must keep up with rising sea levels faced by vulnerable communities around the world."
The agreement forged by 195 nations last December in Paris sets non-binding targets for the reduction of carbon emissions that most scientists blame for rising temperatures and sea levels.
The Obama administration is not calling the pact a treaty, thereby avoiding the step of taking it to the Senate for a ratification vote - and likely rejection.
The White House argument for why Obama doesn't need to get Senate approval is that the climate deal requires "an executive decision" rather than advice and consent of the Senate. If this is true, why did the Chinese president get his parliament's approval for ratification? Why are most nations requiring a vote from their legislative bodies?
Martin Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute thinks Congress should refuse to fund any part of the deal:
"Then the Congress should prohibit any funding for the Paris Climate Treaty, the Green Climate Fund, and the underlying UN Framework Convention on Climate Change," Mr. Ebell said. "Finally, if the Obama administration ignores the Congress, the Senate should take up and vote on ratification of the Paris Climate Treaty."
Simply put, the president does not have the authority to bind the U.S. government and people to an agreement that could cost our economy trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lost jobs. Obama's use of his executive power at the expense of Congress has reached its zenith – at least temporarily. What he has in store for us his final few months in office will no doubt surprise and alarm us.