By Robert Bradley Jr. — April 13, 2022
Marlo Lewis, Jr. is a fellow you want to meet and spend time with. A Harvard University PhD., he has long been a voice of rationality in the climate debate from his home base of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). He is all around fun and plays swing mandolin in a band, Old Town Tradition.
Lewis recently proposed “Expressing the Sense of Congress on the Paris Agreement” for serious debate now that Net Zero is fantastical. Global-government central climate planning must stop. No target should be set for carbon dioxide for reasons that are scientifically sensible and well articulated. Let the market decide with methane too, a market rich in pipeline capacity and end-user growth to naturally reduce natural gas release/flaring.
Lewis’s draft for Republicans and consumer-and-taxpayer-friendly Democrats follows:
Whereas the Paris Agreement is a global framework for pressuring U.S. policy makers and companies to achieve NetZero emissions by 2050;
Whereas achieving NetZero by imposing a carbon tax—the most efficient emission-reduction policy according to many economists—would annually cost $4.4 trillion or 11.9 percent of GDP or $11,300 per person by 2050, according to a recent study in Nature;
Whereas the NetZero agenda entails geopolitical risks, making America more dependent on Russia and OPEC for hydrocarbons and on China for the energy transition minerals used to produce advanced batteries, wind turbines, and solar panels;
Whereas participation in the Paris Agreement makes U.S. energy policy less accountable to voters and more beholden to foreign leaders, multilateral bureaucrats, and politically unaccountable non-governmental organizations;
Whereas the Paris Agreement purports to impose legally binding reporting requirements on its parties to facilitate “naming and shaming” of U.S. policy makers who fail to pledge or implement “ambitious” emission-reduction targets;
Whereas U.S. leadership in producing abundant, affordable, reliable energy strengthens the economy, reduces the cost of living, and enhances U.S. geopolitical security;
Whereas sensible people do not join clubs designed to pressure, cajole, and shame them into acting against their own best interests and better judgment;
Whereas the Paris Agreement requires revisiting energy-suppressing emission-reduction pledges every five years, in perpetuity, with each revision required to reflect the party’s “highest possible ambition;”
Whereas the vast majority of parties to the Paris Agreement submitted the agreement to their legislatures for ratification as a treaty;
Whereas Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution states that the President “shall have power, by and with the consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur;”
Whereas Presidents Obama and Biden enrolled the United States into the Paris Agreement without seeking the Senate’s advice and consent;
Whereas the Constitution requires a higher level of consent to make treaties than to appoint Supreme Court justices, which requires only the concurrence of simple majorities in the Senate;
Whereas the Treaty Clause’s supermajority requirement helps ensure U.S. treaties have broad public support rather than just the support of one party or certain sections of the country;
Whereas the Framers intended the Treaty Clause to check executive power, because “interests of so delicate and momentous a kind, as those which concern [the nation’s] intercourse with the rest of the world” should not be entrusted “to the sole disposal” of one magistrate (Federalist 75);
Whereas the Paris Agreement is a treaty by virtue of its costs and risks to the nation as a whole, dependence on subsequent legislation by Congress, potential impacts on state laws, past U.S. practice as to similar agreements, and other traditional factors set forth in the State Department’s Circular 175 Procedure;
Whereas President Obama purported to join Paris as an executive agreement—as if the “most ambitious climate change agreement in history” were of no greater concern to the Senate than the bilateral executive agreements signed by President George W. Bush to promote environmental education in Niger, Ethiopia, and the Republic of Congo;
Whereas the Senate must independently assess whether the potential costs and risks of a particular agreement are sufficiently “momentous” to warrant review under the Article II process, or else the President may evade constitutional scrutiny, as President Obama did, by unilaterally declaring a controversial agreement to be a non-treaty: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved: That it is the sense of Congress that:
- The Paris Agreement is a signed but non-ratified treaty, and as such creates no legal obligations for the United States.
- The NDC communicated by the United States to the U.N. Climate Secretariat is a Biden administration policy proposal with no official status under either U.S. or international law.
- Senate leaders should schedule a debate and vote on whether President Biden should submit an instrument of ratification for the Paris Agreement to the U.N. Climate Secretariat.
- If fewer than two thirds of senators present vote in favor of ratification, President Biden should inform the U.N. Climate Secretariat that America is not a party to the Paris Agreement, and never has been.
Contempt for the Constitution is a shared feature of both Obama and Biden’s administrations. They do not care.
Ditto … not to mention contempt for the safety and welfare of the American public … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZhngxgkOPE
O’Bummer may have an out for this requirement…
If there were 3 Senators in the Oval Office at the time of signing AND 2 agreed to commit, THEN O’Bummer “Had the concurrence of 2/3 of the Senators Present” at the time
Except that Senators can’t just vote on their own away from the Capitol.
The “consent of the Senate” is a well established procedure involving the Senate as a whole.
Except the rule isn’t written as 2/3 of the entire Senate “as a whole” it is written as 2/3 of those present at the time. If only 3 Senators are there, and 2 agree then the President has a 2/3 majority “of those present”
Sorry, Bryan. Under Senate rules, a quorum (a majority, i.e. 51 Senators since Hawaii’s admission) is required to conduct Senate business. Although this requirement is often breached during speeches and debate, a Senator can at any time “suggest the absence of a quorum”, and thus force 51+ Senators to return to the chamber.
Moreover, there has never been a bill passed by the Senate in which a minority of elected Senators were present to during the vote. If somebody tried to “convene” 3 Senators to approve a treaty, the Senate Parliamentarian would rule it to be a violation of the quorum rule, and therefore null and void.
Since B.O. (body odor sniff sniff) drew a crowd from his butt kissing
fan club in the White House, leaving Lesco Brandon looking for
someone to talk to, it’s obvious this is really B.O.’s third term, with
Susan Rice his WH insider running the operation. LGB’s the puppet
front who’s continuing where B.O. left off & is continuing his career
long drift to the left. This way Bozo Joe gets to take the rap for all of
the failures & Obommie the Commie stays unstained. Dimentia Joe
never seemed to mind doing the dirty work & he was a believable
liar, which is what he’ll have to be through the fall elections.
They all take the oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.
But their partisan policies get in the way of doing that.
You would think they would clamor for Constitutional Amendments to promote their policies as is the proper method to protect and defend it.
But instead, they sign decrees and make phone calls.
Until the Supremes make them stop, one hopes.
Yes. But he won’t.
I gotta tell ya, it ain’t just them who ignore the Constitution when convenient and invoke Constitutional principles when it suits.
Marlo Lewis Jr. is way too rational, I’m wondering when Harvard will revoke his PhD. He is right on about Obama realizing he couldn’t get the Paris Agreement through the Senate, so he went the Executive Order route, resulting in a meaningless result. The Biden Handlers are shirley going to try another end run on this nonsense. Wait for it.
“Marlo Lewis Jr. is way too rational”
When it comes to AGW the truth matters less than who controls the narrative.
Don’t call me Shirley.
They already have their end-run in place: the EPA.
One, Biden hasn’t the guts to take the step of removing the US from the ranks of the Paris Accord.
Two, The Biden core cabinet of staunch progressives see the world in terms not unlike the early American Puritans. We the unwashed deserve to be punished, and if they are the ones to profit from these corrective labors all the better and more the justification. As usual the onus falls on the tax paying middle class to fund government nonsense, and the middle class has been via Facebook, twitter, and the legacy media denied a voice. We the majority are shouting to be heard over the madness of a minority. The world is upside down.
The relevant question is whether Senate Republicans have the guts to challenge the constitutionality of Obama and Biden’s evasion of the Article II treaty process. Obama and Biden enrolled the U.S. into the Paris Agreement without obtaining the Senate’s advice and consent. They did so on the pretense that Paris is not a treaty even though it potentially entails massive costs and risks to the nation as a whole. My model resolution is in part designed to remind Congress that a critical aspect of the Senate’s shared role in treatymaking is the power to judge for itself which pacts are or are not treaties subject to the Senate’s advice and consent. Regaining the habit of judging whether or not the Article II process applies will itself take guts. It will also disciplined thought about the purpose of the Treaty Clause and how to distinguish treaties from pacts that are solely within the scope of executive discretion. The State Department’s Circular 175 Procedure would be a good place to start. https://fam.state.gov/fam/11fam/11fam0720.html#:~:text=It%20may%20be%20referred%20to,and%20facilitates%20the%20maintenance%20of.
As always, timing is everything. The mid-terms are coming. The popular sentiment seems to be that the Democrats will lose both the house and senate. As far as I can tell, if the above suggested bill were introduced into the senate it could pass by a simple majority.
What would the grounds be to get this into the Supreme Court, and what would the court likely decide?
Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution requires that 2/3s of the Senators present and voting are required to pass a treaty. A simple majority (50 + Willie Brown’s former mistress) is a fail and the treaty is not valid.
The popular sentiment seems to be that the Democrats will lose both the house and senate.
The Democrats are going to employ the same methods they used in 2020 to make sure that their candidates are installed. There is no evidence that the go along to get along Republicans have done anything to prevent that from happening.
Never underestimate the Republicans ability to totaly blow it.
Yep. As much as the Dems are wrong that they’re losing because of messaging, they are master manipulators of the media. They have the top spin masters, PR flacks, marketing jocks and ad monkeys in their corner.
They will try. Unfortunately, people have not awoken to the scope of fraud, cheating, misconduct and crimes committed in the last election.
OTH, I often wonder why the Donald didn’t put up millions of his own money as rewards for evidence of fraud and misconduct? Take the 5 most controversial states and offer a million dollars to the first person to provide evidence of serious wrong-doing, $500K to the next, and so on. If he’d just put up the seed money, I’d donate to the cause.
The perception that burning fossil fuels causes climate change is debunked. It is based on the false perception that increasing CO2 is causing planet warming.
It is simple to calculate what the average global water vapor increase rate would be as a result of planet warming. The methodology and an example are given in Sect 7 of https://watervaporandwarming.blogspot.com . The average global water vapor increase has also been accurately measured since Jan 1988 by NASA/RSS using satellite instrumentation. The Total Precipitable Water (TPW) anomalies up to their last report which is for Dec 2021 are presented at http://data.remss.com/vapor/monthly_1deg/tpw_v07r01_198801_202112.time_series.txt .
These two are plotted on the same graph, Fig 7 in Sect 7 which shows that measured WV is more than possible from just planet warming.
This demonstrates that:
1. There have to be other sources of WV. (about 90% of the ‘extra’ WV is from irrigation, Sect 6)
2. Global warming was initiated by measured WV increase, not CO2 increase.
3. Average global temperature increase results from measured WV increase not CO2 increase.
4. Because CO2 increase has no significant effect on temperature it cannot have a significant effect on climate.
All of average global temperature increase attributable to humanity since before 1895 can be accounted for by WV increase alone. Sect 17 of http://globalclimatedrivers2.blogspot.com
Water vapor is a product of combustion of fossil fuels. But it doesn’t matter because the greenhouse effect is saturated for water vapor and CO2.
Only about 1.5% of the WV added by humanity is from burning fossil fuels.
Has anyone read Dan’s work, and would they comment on it?
Most of the water vapor in the atmosphere comes from the evaporation of tropical oceans surface water. The rate of evaporation is a function of the surface temperature and the atmospheric dew point at the surface. The process is endothermic, cooling the surface.
Being lighter than air, the water vapor rises. Air temperature decreases with increasing altitude. When the water vapor reaches the height where the air has cooled to the dew point, it condenses to form the bottom of clouds. This process is exothermic, warming the air and making it lighter and rising faster. Clouds act like a blanket preventing radiation to space.
A lot more energy is being transported in thunder clouds than is possibly being transported via radiation to either water vapor or CO2.
Thank goodness we live in a water world with a Goldie locks range of temperatures.
Mostly true. I would add that a lot of energy never makes it to the ground, WV slows the radiation flux everywhere and clouds also radiate energy depending on their temperature and emissivity. The oceans have always been there and their temperature increase is accounted for. Humanity has contributed directly to the increased WV; most (about 90%) of their increase is from irrigation (Sect 6 of https://watervaporandwarming.blogspot.com ). Most irrigation water is shallow and warm. This graphic is an energy balance. The values are explained further at http://consensusmistakes.blogspot.com
The only thing which worries me about the ratification strategy is the RINOs.
The elite stand to make trillions of dollars looting and rent seeking the USA if Paris is ratified, so bribes in the 10s of millions, maybe even hundreds of millions in some cases, would be on the table for Republicans who defect to supporting the Paris Agreement ratification.
Some of them would be tempted.
What we need is a pilot project to prove or disprove the net Zero by 2050 concept.
The obvious place for just such a test is the State of Calafornia.
Let this State cease to import energy
from other States..
If wind & solar are sufficient to run a modern economy, then let them prove it..
You could also do it by making them buy, and learn to use a $5.99 calculator.
Too many of them would not need any inducement to go along. They have probably worked most of their life to get into position to assure Marxism will succeed.
“No target should be set for carbon dioxide for reasons that are scientifically sensible and well articulated.”
Is this right?
Surely it should read:
No target should be set for carbon dioxide for reasons that are NOT scientifically sensible and well articulated.
(Or for solely political reasons.)
It all depends on which part of the sentence is emphasised; both can be read as correct. In the first, the emphasis is on ‘no target’ and implies that there are very valid, scientific reasons why carbon dioxide should not have targets associated with it. In the second, the emphasis is on ‘carbon dioxide’ and the implication is that targets may be set, but not for reasons that are unscientific or invalid. Either way will probably work well enough.
But “votes” mean nothing these days… This administration will do what it’s told no matter what senators want.
The Paris Agreement is what is called a presidential agreement, basically just a political promise. These are common. I doubt the Senate can cancel it.
“Why did the United States not become a party to the Kyoto Protocol (hereafter ‘Kyoto’)? A seemingly obvious answer is that Kyoto’s design gave it practically no chance of US Senate ratification. In July 1997, five months before the Kyoto meeting, the Senate passed the Byrd–Hagel resolution (hereafter ‘Byrd–Hagel’), stating that:
the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol … which would (A) mandate new commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the Annex I Parties, unless the protocol … also mandates new specific scheduled commitments … for Developing Country Parties within the same compliance period, or (B) result in serious harm to the economy of the United States.1
Byrd–Hagel was not legally binding; rather, it was a sense-of-the-Senate resolution. However, while Senate ratification requires a two-thirds majority, Byrd–Hagel was passed by a 95–0 vote. Thus, to achieve ratification, the US administration would have had to change the minds of at least 67 senators ― a formidable task. Unsurprisingly, President Bush, when repudiating Kyoto in February 2001, echoed the requirements of Byrd–Hagel: ‘I oppose the Kyoto Protocol because it exempts 80 percent of the world, including major population centers such as China and India, from compliance, and would cause serious harm to the US economy.’2 Bush also referred to Byrd–Hagel directly, stating, ‘the Senate’s vote, 95–0, shows that there is a clear consensus that the Kyoto Protocol is an unfair and ineffective means of addressing global climate change concerns”
The Paris Climate Accord is no different than the Kyoto Protocol where the U.S. Senate is concerned. We and the U.S. Senate should oppose the Paris Climate Accord for the same reasons the Kyoto Protocol was opposed.
Except we are a signatory to the Paris Agreement. The Senate cannot tell the President not to sign.
I was under the impression that the President of the USA had signed it but not the people of the USA. It might be just nitpicking but does Congress have the power to tell the President that the American people cannot be bound by it unless or until it is actually ratified by the representatives of the people?
David, President Clinton signed the Kyoto Protocol. https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/exhibits/show/green-building/kyoto-protocol. Congress could not tell Clinton not to sign it. However, the Senate made clear via the Byrd-Hagel Resolution that it would not ratify Kyoto, so President Clinton never submitted Kyoto to the Senate for Article II review. The big difference here is that the Senate has not weighed in on Paris. That is because a feckless Senate was only to happy to swallow the Obama administration’s party line that Paris is “not a treaty,” and that he gets to decide that unilaterally. However, Paris is obviously more “ambitious” than Kyoto. It encompasses more countries, sets more ambitious targets (NetZero by 2050 developed countries, NetZero whole world by 2070s), and calls for vastly greater wealth transfers (“climate finance”). It is preposterous that an agreement of this magnitude in all the key dimensions can impose binding requirements on the U.S. (even if nothing more than binding reporting requirements) absent proper vetting and approval by the Senate. It is not some constitutional judgment from on high that made America a party to the Paris Agreement but President Obama’s chutzpah and the timid passivity of GOP Senate leaders.
Congress can always withhold funding for implementation.
Yes but there is no implementation except for posting a wishful hope.
Didn’t Obama send money to Paris that was from a discretionary fund that he had access to that didn’t require Congressional oversight?
David, you are correct, the Senate cannot cancel Biden’s signature. What it can do is expose the fact that Paris is treaty by virtue of its costs and risks, dependence on subsequent legislation by Congress, potential to affect state laws (e.g., the Clean Power Plan was the centerpiece of Obama’s Paris Agreement NDC, and the CPP invaded states’ traditional authority over electricity resource planning and pressured them to establish or join REGGI-style cap-and-trade programs), and other traditional factors set forth in the State Department’s Circular 175 Procedure: https://fam.state.gov/fam/11fam/11fam0720.html#:~:text=It%20may%20be%20referred%20to,and%20facilitates%20the%20maintenance%20of. As I said, Paris is a signed but non-ratified treaty. Unfortunately, unlike most other signed but non-ratified treaties, Paris is now purportedly binding on the United States. As such provides a reference point for climate litigation against fossil fuel companies and jurisdictions deemed to be insufficiently aligned with the NetZero agenda.
I will never grasp why Trump didn’t send the Paris Climate Agreement to the Senate for a vote. It would have easily failed. A failed ratification would have made it very hard for later administrations to rejoin the agreement.
Wouldn’t change a thing. Any following President could just continue doing what they have/are doing without ratification.
All Congress can do is place into budgets that the President can not spend funds in relation to anything contained in the Paris Agreement. Don’t hold your breath.
Thank you. That’s what CEI and other groups argued during 2017 and later. We warned that withdrawing from Paris without official constitutional rejection by the Senate would simply allow the next President to rejoin. The State Department, keen to build a climate diplomatic corps and protect its handiwork from definitive constitutional rejection, talked the Trump Whitehouse out of setting up a failed ratification.
Absolutely right! No Democrat Marxist invented euphemism can make the Paris Climate Accord — or the Iran Nuclear Deal, for that matter—anything but a treaty requiring proper Senate consent to be binding. Then, as long as we’re being faithful to the Constitution, we can cancel any administrative bureaucracy that doesn’t reflect a specific enumerated power in the Constitution. That would cut the DC tyranny down to size.
The Paris Agreement only Agreed when the word ‘must’ was changed to ‘should’. Yardstick of success is the Green Climate Fund. Where’s the $100million a year rich to poor? Laughable
Biden is not going to do this. The Paris agreement has no hope of being ratified. If it did, Biden would have already done it.
On the flip side, the Paris agreement had no hope of passing during the Trump administration, either. Why didn’t he submit it to the Senate in order to kill it?
‘Why didn’t he submit it to the Senate in order to kill it?’
They say a good lawyer never asks a question in court that he/she doesn’t already know the answer to. Submitting the issue to the Senate would require a high degree of confidence that an overwhelming majority of that body firmly believes that climate alarmism is scientifically a crock of sh*t.
Trump had a lot on his plate.
That he did. If he gets a second bite at the apple, I hope he comes loaded for bear.
Trump has made it a point in his last few political rallies to ridicule the idea that sea level rise is something to be concerned about.
Assuming that Republicans take control of the Senate in Nov, one hopes that the Senate will take a vote, and then notify the Paris folks that the US Senate did not ratify the Treaty, and the Paris accords have no force or effect on the US. Then let Biden sue, and let’s take it to the Supreme Court.
Much of this mischief is being done under the Clean Air Act, which says exactly nothing. I would hope that the House and the Senate will pass whatever is necessary that denies that The Clean Air Act applies to any issues regarding Global Warming. Not a bill, because Biden can veto a bill. Again, the objective is to challenge Biden’s EO’s in the courts to prevent any destructive movement from EPA, DOE etc. while everything is resolved in the courts.
Whereas most on the left express concern about Trump being a threat to democracy, it is evident that they haven’t been paying attention.
It’s not that they aren’t paying attention, it’s that they are just blatantly lying about Trump being a threat to democracy. What they really mean is Trump is a threat to their socialism. They equate their socialism to American democracy. Trump *is* a threat to their socialism. Let’s hope it is an existential threat that comes to fruition.
Trump said the other day that if he is president again, he won’t fight with the fake news media, he will just ignore them, and concentrate on getting the United States back on the proper path of individual rights and Free Enterprise.