Energy & Environment

French official says climate deal should bypass Congress

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The French foreign minister said Monday that any international deal that comes from a climate conference in Paris this winter should be written so it avoids needing ratification by Congress.

“We know the politics in the U.S.” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said, the Associated Press reports. “Whether we like it or not, if it comes to the Congress, they will refuse.”

{mosads}The United Nations will host a landmark climate conference in Paris in December with the goal of crafting an international treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Countries are expected to submit individual reduction targets — the Obama administration’s goal is at least a 26 percent reduction in emissions over 2005 levels by 2025 — and strategies for achieving those goals.

Any final climate deal is expected to have both binding and non-binding aspects. If the treaty is legally-binding and needs to be ratified, the U.S. Senate would have to take that up. Republicans, who control the chamber, have been skeptical of a broad international climate deal, and their opposition could complicate its implementation.

“We must find a formula which is valuable for everybody and valuable for the U.S. without going to the Congress,” Fabius said Monday.

When the Obama administration released its reduction targets in March, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned that the U.S. might not be able to meet the goals. Obama’s plan to reduce emissions from power plants is central to the U.S.’s climate targets, and several states have challenged that effort in court.

“Our international partners should proceed with caution before entering into a binding, unattainable deal,’ McConnell said then.

A handful of key Republicans told Bloomberg BNA last month that the Senate should get the chance to consider any climate deal, though they’re still considering how to do that.

“The congressional oversight role is an important one and I think it’s one we need to exercise,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said then.

Tags Climate change France John Thune Mitch McConnell
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