President Barack Obama should be wary of committing the U.S. to any binding climate standards at a global conference this month without congressional input, one senator warned.
Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) sent a letter to the president late last week warning Obama against agreeing to any binding climate change agreement during a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark this month.
"I would like to express my concern regarding reports that the Administration may believe it has the unilateral power to commit the government of the United States to certain standards that may be agreed upon at the upcoming [conference]," Webb wrote to Obama.
"Although details have not been made available, recent statements by Special Envoy on Climate Change Todd Stern indicate that negotiators may be intending to commit the United States to a nationwide emission reduction program," Webb added. "As you well know from your time in the Senate, only specific legislation agreed upon in the Congress, or a treaty ratified by the Senate, could actually create such a commitment on behalf of our country."
The Virginia senator has long been a proponent of asserting the role for Congress in assenting to international agreements, and had advanced similar arguments in the Bush administration, during President Geroge W. Bush's work on the Iraq Security Agreements.
World leaders will gather in Copenhagen to hash out details and move toward a global protocol to address global warming challenges. Lawmakers have not been able to act to move their own climate bills through Congress in the run-up to the conference.