The Obama administration is aiming to forge a legally binding, international agreement that would cut fossil fuel emissions and direct funds to poor nations dealing with climate change, without ratification from Congress, The New York Times reports.
The agreement would combine legally binding updates to an existing 1992 climate change treaty — allowing Obama to sidestep the constitutional requirement that treaties be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate — with voluntary pledges for specific emissions targets and aid to help poorer countries adapt to climate change. Nations would then be legally required to report progress toward their emissions targets at international meetings that would “name and shame” countries making slow or no progress, the Times reports.
Lawmakers from both political parties say that no climate agreement requiring congressional approval could be reached in the near future. Republican leaders are expected to oppose the agreement being worked on by the administration and say it would be an abuse of authority; leaders from poor nations are also expected to oppose the deal because they fear that wealthy countries will not abide by voluntary aid pledges.
A draft of a U.N. climate report to be released in November, leaked yesterday, stresses the urgency of international action to mitigate rising greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Times.