On Sept. 3, the presidents of the United States and China met in Hangzhou, China and “formally ratified” the Paris climate agreement. President Obama pledged the US would cut greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent by 2025 compared to 2005 levels.
China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, with more emissions than the US and the European Union combined, pledged to cut: nothing, Zero, Nada, Zilch. Instead, China said it will keep increasing emissions until “around 2030.”
The agreement thus calls for the US to make large emissions cuts while China increases emissions without limit. Sounds like a good deal? For whom?
If enforced, this deal would seriously stymie the US economy and send money and jobs to countries without emission limits. Whether enforced or not, the pact would have no significant effect on climate.
An “agreement” with foreign countries is a “treaty.” By the US Constitution, the president has no authority to approve it alone. It must be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate. This makes it more important than ever that this coming election produces a government – executive, legislative, and judicial - which will uphold the Constitution, not ignore it.
John E. Greer Jr. Wilmington
Under its terms, the Paris agreement won’t officially become effective until at least 55 countries representing at least 55% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions have formally ratified their previous commitments to the agreement. Sixty countries have ratified to date, and the 55% requirement is expected to be met before the end of the year. After that, the US would supposedly be precluded from “pulling out for 4 years, potentially binding the hands of the next [US] president – even if he or she was intent on reversing course.” [Comment: We don’t buy this interpretation!] Paris climate deal picks up momentum at UN gathering, Valentina Pop, Wall Street Journal,9/21/16.