Who’s the real coward on climate pact? | AspenTimes.com

Who’s the real coward on climate pact?

Those who support or oppose the United States’ participation in the Paris climate accord should agree on two things: 1. It’s unconstitutional; 2. Politicians are cowards.

Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution says, “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.” A common definition of a “treaty” is “An agreement, league, or contract between two or more nations or sovereigns, formally signed by commissioners properly authorized, and solemnly ratified by the several sovereigns or the supreme power of each state.”

The Paris accord was a “treaty.” No president had the power to bind the United States to that treaty without Senate ratification. How did we reach a point where a president treated the accord as a “contract with more than two other nations” that bound the United States, and the Senate didn’t object to the usurpation of its authority?

The previous president lacked the political courage to submit the accord to the Senate as required by Article II, Section 2, Clause 2. He was pretty sure the Senate wouldn’t ratify it and he thought neither the Senate nor a future president would have the political courage to undo it. The Senate lacked the courage to insist on a vote, which would force senators to take public positions on the matter.

Cowards all around.

Maurice Emmer

Aspen


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