President Obama is working to create a new international climate change accord that would get other nations to reduce their carbon emissions, but in a way that would not require the deal to be ratified by the Senate.
Obama's climate team is putting together a “politically binding” deal to “name and shame” nations to cut their emissions, according to The New York Times.
Because the Senate would be unlikely to ratify a treaty on global warming, the administration is seeking to mix fresh voluntary pledges with legally binding 1992 treaty conditions.
Such a deal, according to officials quoted by the Times, would represent an updated version of an existing deal and would not require ratification by the Senate.
Delegates will discuss the proposal next month at a U.N. meeting in New York and would hope to draft the agreement in December at a meeting in Lima, Peru.
Such a deal is still likely to be very controversial in the United States, and talk of the unusual agreement comes months before a midterm election, where the Senate majority is in play.
“Unfortunately, this would be just another of many examples of the Obama administration’s tendency to abide by laws that it likes and to disregard laws it doesn’t like — and to ignore the elected representatives of the people when they don’t agree,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told the Times in a statement.
The Times report quotes other officials saying they understand it would be difficult for a new climate change treaty to be ratified by the U.S. Senate.
Laurence Tubiana, French climate change ambassador to the U.N., told the Times, "[t]here’s a strong understanding of the difficulties of the U.S. situation, and a willingness to work with the U.S. to get out of this impasse."
Last month, the Obama administration released a report saying that not acting to curb carbon emissions would raise the global temperature by 3 degrees Celsius and cost America and others $150 billion per year, part of its push for carbon rules.
The work at the United Nations comes as the international body prepares its newest climate change report that warns of “irreversible change” due to global warming, according to a separate report in The New York Times.