Is The Paris Climate Agreement As Toothless As It Appears?

I’ve blogged and tweeted numerous times that the Paris agreement is essentially non-binding, voluntary, and has no force of law. I’ve even had Warmists retweet that, because they are upset that it is non-bonding, voluntary, and provides no mechanisms to force legal compliance. Marlon Lewis at GlobalWarming.org argues that the agreement is not a paper tiger, though

Summary: The Paris climate agreement is “non-binding, underfunded, and unenforceable,” as one conservative commentator put it. However, Paris is a “paper tiger” only on paper. The treaty’s core purpose is not to impose legal obligations but to establish the multi-decade framework for a global political pressure campaign. The pressure will be directed chiefly at those who oppose EPA’s unlawful Clean Power Plan and other elements of the President’s climate agenda. Republicans will get rolled unless GOP leaders organize a political counter-offensive centered around a Byrd-Hagel 2.0 resolution. Key message point: Contrary to President Obama, the Paris agreement is a treaty, hence it is not a policy of the United States until the Senate ratifies it.

Dismissing the Paris Climate Agreement as a paper tiger because America’s emission-reduction and foreign-aid commitments are not “legally binding” is whistling past the graveyard. The Paris agreement is first and foremost a device for mobilizing political pressure against U.S. opponents of President Obama’s climate policies. Those would be Republicans and their fossil-fuel industry allies.

Mr. Lewis makes the case that, while not legally binding, it is “politically binding”. “Commitments are to be enforced via political pressure (“naming and shaming”) rather than through international tribunals or economic sanctions.”

The absence of formal sanctions does not mean Paris has no teeth. Suppose, for example, the next president, future Congresses, or even courts try to upend any part of Obama’s climate agenda. Thanks to Paris, 190 foreign heads of state, hundreds of Democratic pols, scores of green advocacy groups, and legions of liberal pundits will be primed to denounce Republicans for breaking “America’s promises” and sacrificing mankind’s future on the altar of corporate greed.

Think about how George Bush was vilified by Warmists and their compliant media for “taking the US out of the Kyoto Protocol”, despite never having joined it formally. The Senate voted 95-0 against it. Bill Clinton signed it, and, but, it had no force of law without Senate confirmation, since it was a treaty. Al Gore symbolically signing it had no force of law in the least.

The Obama administration spins the Paris agreement as a non-treaty exempt from Senate review so that U.S. and global greens can more efficiently organize political pressure to defend and promote the Clean Power Plan, other regulatory assaults on affordable energy, and EPA’s unlawful reign as the nation’s climate legislator.

Mr. Lewis makes a compelling argument, which should be read in full. The agreement is a mechanism to browbeat those who refuse to comply with the push to enact “green” initiatives, which are really just mechanisms to control citizens, private entities, the energy sector, and economies.

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23 Comments

Comment by Dana
2015-12-28 09:15:47

I’ve said it many time before: the Senate should simply take the agreement and vote on as though it were a treaty. There is no obligation for the Senate to wait for the President to submit it!

It would be great political theater to see the Democrats being forced to filibuster an agreement signed by President Obama, and if they don’t filibuster it, it would be soundly rejected.

However, you have a small error: under international law — something I do not admit exists in the first place, because the sovereignty of the United States is not subject to any outside authority — a nation which has signed but not yet ratified a treaty is obligated to do nothing to undermine the treaty prior to a ratification vote.

 
Comment by MrToad21
2015-12-28 10:05:05

Do you really want to send it to Congress which only needs 50% (maybe less) of the Republican vote to pass? The Republican leadership Ryan & McConnell….how confident are you?

 
Comment by Zachriel
2015-12-28 10:33:29

Dana: There is no obligation for the Senate to wait for the President to submit it!

U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 2: The president “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur”

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution.html

 
Comment by Dana
2015-12-28 12:08:19

Mr Toad asked:

Do you really want to send it to Congress which only needs 50% (maybe less) of the Republican vote to pass? The Republican leadership Ryan & McConnell….how confident are you?

Very, because the threshold to ratify a treaty is a 2/3 supermajority in the Senate; ‘Twould take only 34 senators voting against it to defeat it.

 
Comment by Dana
2015-12-28 12:11:26

Zachriel, the President has already fulfilled his Constitutional duty as far as this “treaty” that he says isn’t a treaty is concerned; now it is time for the Senate to fulfill it’s duty.

One significant problem we have had recently is that Presidents sign treaties that they know cannot be ratified, and then never submit them to the Senate for a ratification vote. The Senate needs to go ahead and take action on its own, and has the power to do so, and the President has no authority to stop it.

 
Comment by Zachriel
2015-12-28 15:06:00

Dana: the President has already fulfilled his Constitutional duty as far as this “treaty” that he says isn’t a treaty is concerned

Only the president has the power to make treaties. The Paris Agreement is not a treaty as there are no binding conditions. Executive agreements are allowed under the Constitution, but are not legally binding on future presidents.

 
Comment by Jeffery
2015-12-29 09:29:47

The agreement is a mechanism to browbeat those who refuse to comply with the push to enact “green” initiatives, which are really just mechanisms to control citizens, private entities, the energy sector, and economies.

But the proposed “mechanisms to control citizens” are via persuasion not force of law. You should be pleased. You whine constantly that the fascist left is trying to control citizens by law, then you turn around and whine that they’re not!

The hope is that the US Cult of Conservatism can be shamed into decency, but I have little confidence that the American far-right has any sense of decency.

 
Comment by gitarcarver
2015-12-29 12:12:06

But the proposed “mechanisms to control citizens” are via persuasion not force of law.

Uh huh.

Because the agreement which will by design impact all industries and people, will never be implemented by laws or rules set by the government.

Oh wait. The AGREEMENT itself says that governments will do just that.

The hope is that the US Cult of Conservatism can be shamed into decency, but I have little confidence that the American far-right has any sense of decency.

Says the guy who just lied.

 
Comment by Dana
2015-12-29 12:42:52

Jeffrey wrote:

The hope is that the US Cult of Conservatism can be shamed into decency, but I have little confidence that the American far-right has any sense of decency.

[Guffaws!] So, the left, which say that someone can just decide that he’s the opposite sex, and should therefore be allowed to use the locker rooms of the sex he says he is, are trying to tell us about decency?

 
Comment by Zachriel
2015-12-29 17:20:53

gitarcarver: The AGREEMENT itself says that governments will do just that.

The agreement allows each country to set its own goals. In democratic countries, that means it is up to the people to decide whether to take action or not.

 
Comment by gitarcarver
2015-12-29 18:04:51

The agreement allows each country to set its own goals.

Actually, it doesn’t.

In democratic countries, that means it is up to the people to decide whether to take action or not.

Nice try, but that really doesn’t address the point does it?

Someone tried to make the point that the agreement would not be enforced via laws.

We can argue whether the rules set forth by the EPA and other agencies are laws or not, but it is clear they carry the weight of law including criminal penalties. (Even though those rules don’t seem to apply to the agencies themselves.) The fact of the matter is that the agreement says countries will do certain things and that means forcing people at the point of the government sword.

 
Comment by Zachriel
2015-12-30 09:40:56

gitarcarver: Actually, it doesn’t.

The amount of reduction is to be set by each country: “Each Party shall prepare, communicate and maintain successive nationally determined contributions that it intends to achieve.” Even then, there is no enforcement mechanism, so the country can change its mind as to how to proceed.

gitarcarver: but that really doesn’t address the point does it?

The point you raised was that the agreement required each country to pass laws to reach the goals. That is incorrect. Countries are agreeing to pursue mitigation and to set targets, but how these targets are met are up to the individual countries to decide. Furthermore, a country can withdraw from the treaty at any time.

gitarcarver: We can argue whether the rules set forth by the EPA and other agencies are laws or not

No need to argue. Regulations have the force of law.

gitarcarver: The fact of the matter is that the agreement says countries will do certain things and that means forcing people at the point of the government sword.

The treaty does not require the U.S. to do anything except set a target and make an effort.

 
Comment by gitarcarver
2015-12-30 12:51:37

The amount of reduction is to be set by each country: “Each Party shall prepare, communicate and maintain successive nationally determined contributions that it intends to achieve.”

The agreement calls for different countries to be in different groups of CO2 emissions. Whether a country agrees or not to be in that groups means one of two things. 1) The agreement was a massive waste of time and energy (including a massive output of CO2) or 2) liberals are touting an agreement based on the idea that the word of a person or country doesn’t mean anything.

Even then, there is no enforcement mechanism, so the country can change its mind as to how to proceed.

I never said the agreement had an enforcement mechanism. Why bring up something that is not being discussed?

The point you raised was that the agreement required each country to pass laws to reach the goals. That is incorrect.

Nope. Here is what I wrote: “Because the agreement which will by design impact all industries and people, will never be implemented by laws or rules set by the government. “

The existence of the agreement itself means that countries have agreed to use the point of the government sword to demand compliance from industries and people.

The treaty does not require the U.S. to do anything except set a target and make an effort.

And here I thought you were arguing that this wasn’t a treaty?

Actually, your statement shows a difference between the left and the right. The right looks at issues and seeks solutions. The left only cares about the appearance of “trying.”

 
Comment by Zachriel
2015-12-30 15:41:15

gitarcarver: The agreement calls for different countries to be in different groups of CO2 emissions.

The agreement does distinguish between different levels of development — as it should.

gitarcarver: Whether a country agrees or not to be in that groups means one of two things. 1) The agreement was a massive waste of time and energy (including a massive output of CO2) or 2) liberals are touting an agreement based on the idea that the word of a person or country doesn’t mean anything.

It represents a commitment by the nations of the world to address the problem of global warming.

gitarcarver: The existence of the agreement itself means that countries have agreed to use the point of the government sword to demand compliance from industries and people.

Nothing in the agreement requires any particular action. However, it’s likely that most larger countries will implement some regulation, though other countries may address the problem by developing new technologies.

 
Comment by gitarcarver
2015-12-30 16:42:22

The agreement does distinguish between different levels of development — as it should.

I am not sure why you believe that it should. I don’t believe that a molecule of CO2 cares what country or location emitted or created it. Can you explain why a ton of CO2 from one country should be treated differently than a ton of CO2 from another?

One of the complaints about the agreement is that this is a money grab. The differentiation proves that it is.

It represents a commitment by the nations of the world to address the problem of global warming.

Was this commitment a part of the massive carbon footprint of the conference itself? You know, the “don’t do as I do, do as I say” initiative?

I live in Florida. Care to purchase some swamp land I have for sale. I can offer you a nice bridge as well.

Nothing in the agreement requires any particular action.

You keep trying to beat an argument which I have not made. The fact of the matter is that governments will force this agreement down the throats of people through regulations and laws. If you want to say that governments will develop technologies, that is great except for one thing – the governments get their money through taxes and fees, all of which are based on laws and regulations. Compliance is at the point of the government welded sword.

 
Comment by Zachriel
2015-12-30 18:37:50

gitarcarver: I am not sure why you believe that it should.

Those countries that caused most of the problem should have the most responsibility.

gitarcarver: I don’t believe that a molecule of CO2 cares what country or location emitted or created it.

And developed countries have emitted over time far more than developing countries, and got rich doing so.

gitarcarver: The fact of the matter is that governments will force this agreement down the throats of people through regulations and laws.

If you live in a democratic society, then you will have a say in the matter along with your fellow citizens. If not, don’t worry. Non-democratic countries generally have strong political forces against addressing climate change.

gitarcarver: Compliance is at the point of the government welded sword.

Next thing you know, they’ll put up traffic lights and tell you when to stop and when to go.

 
Comment by Jeffery
2015-12-30 18:53:48

The fact of the matter is that governments will force this agreement down the throats of people through regulations and laws

Sadly, every individual doesn’t always get their way. Governments elected by citizens are charged with making these policy decisions. In a republic such as ours, you are welcome to elect representatives that reflect your desires and values. Certain virulent strains of anti-government libertarians/anarchists find this arrangement unacceptable.

 
Comment by Jeffery
2015-12-30 19:34:53

Z:

The agreement does distinguish between different levels of development — as it should.

GC:

I am not sure why you believe that it should. I don’t believe that a molecule of CO2 cares what country or location emitted or created it. Can you explain why a ton of CO2 from one country should be treated differently than a ton of CO2 from another?

It’s because of a principle to which modern conservatives pay lip service, i.e., responsibility. If we are to believe that CO2 generated from humans burning fossil fuels is causing the Earth to warm (it is), then those most responsible for the accumulated atmospheric CO2 should pay more. Responsibility.

 
Comment by gitarcarver
2015-12-30 19:45:32

Those countries that caused most of the problem should have the most responsibility.

The Paris agreement was not designed to address past issues, but future issues. Once again, it doesn’t matter where CO2 comes from.

It is clear that you don’t care about the CO2 emissions themselves, but rather “penalizing” countries who through hard work and effort became more successful than others.

And developed countries have emitted over time far more than developing countries, and got rich doing so.

Do you have a any idea how stupid that sounds? Developed countries became developed by developing. There is nothing that held other countries back from being more developed than they are. In essence, you are penalizing countries for taking care of their citizens and rewarding other countries who chose not to do the same.

If you live in a democratic society,…….

This is the second time you have tried this line of “democratic society.” Here in the US, we don’t have a “democratic society” nor a “democratic form of government.”

If you are going to use terms, (such as “treaty” you used previously when describing this) please try and use the correct terms. Words and terms have meanings and you don’t get to change them at your whim.

Next thing you know, they’ll put up traffic lights and tell you when to stop and when to go.

Clearly you have never been involved in the process of putting something like a stop sign up. The sign installation requires direct input from both the government and citizens. It is not a unilateral decision made by the government.

You have already admitted that the agreement has no tooth or enforcement within the agreement itself. Therefore, the whole thing was a waste of time. It is a money grab. Period.

The funny thing is that you actually think that an agreement that doesn’t accomplish anything, has not enforcement provisions and dumped huge amounts of the very greenhouse gas you always scream about, is a good thing.

 
Comment by gitarcarver
2015-12-30 19:50:14

It’s because of a principle to which modern conservatives pay lip service, i.e., responsibility.

It is not lip service Jeffery. Your accusation that it is is just another lie in a long list of lies from you.

If two countries are emitting the gas that you claim causes “global warming,” then BOTH countries are responsible for the emission.

It is really a simple concept that for some reason, you refuse to understand.

 
Comment by Jeffery
2015-12-30 20:19:17

Responsibility: It is really a simple concept that for some reason, you refuse to understand.

 
Comment by William Teach
2015-12-30 22:04:33

Responsibility: It is really a simple concept that for some reason, you refuse to understand.

Huh. So, are you saying that every Warmist who refuses to give up their own use of fossil fuels and make their lives carbon neutral, like yourself, are irresponsible? How about that.

 
Comment by Zachriel
2015-12-31 10:33:15

gitarcarver: The Paris agreement was not designed to address past issues, but future issues.

The Paris Agreement explicitly puts additional responsibility on the developed countries. That’s because they are most responsible for the problem, because they have benefited the most from dumping, and because they have the means to do so.

gitarcarver: Here in the US, we don’t have a “democratic society” nor a “democratic form of government.”

The U.S. is considered a representative democracy.
https://www.gpo.gov/libraries/core_docs.htm
http://www.economist.com/media/pdf/DEMOCRACY_INDEX_2007_v3.pdf

gitarcarver: The sign installation requires direct input from both the government and citizens. It is not a unilateral decision made by the government.

That’s democracy for ya! But if you don’t like it, you still have to stop.

gitarcarver: If two countries are emitting the gas that you claim causes “global warming,” then BOTH countries are responsible for the emission.

That’s fine. Just remove the gas you dumped in the atmosphere, and call it even.

 

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