WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today responded to comments from Secretary of State John Kerry published in the Financial Times Wednesday that any climate deal reached in Paris “will not deliver a ‘treaty’ that legally requires countries to cut their carbon emissions”:

This news, so close to the December negotiations, highlights both the reckless approach that the Obama administration has taken going into Paris and the discord which has ensuedAs he remains concerned with nothing but his legacy, the president is attempting to steamroll ahead with an emissions reduction target that he continues to fail to articulate and that the U.S. can neither reasonably achieve nor afford."

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was quick to respond, saying that the Secretary of State must be “confused.” Safe to say Kerry and Fabius are not on the same page just weeks before international climate negotiations commence.

This comes after remarks from Fabius this past summer when he said, “We must find a formula which is valuable for everybody and valuable for the U.S. without going to Congress, if it comes to the Congress, they will refuse.”




Financial Times: Paris climate deal will not be a legally binding treaty

By Demetri Sevastopulo in Norfolk, Virginia, and Pilita Clark in London

November 11, 2015

John Kerry, US secretary of state, has warned that December’s Paris climate change talks will not deliver a “treaty” that legally requires countries to cut their carbon emissions, exposing international divisions over how to enforce a deal.

The EU and other countries have long argued that the accord due to be reached next month should be an “international treaty” with legally binding measures to cut emissions. But in an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Kerry insisted the agreement was “definitively not going to be a treaty”.

He said it would contain measures that would drive a “significant amount of investment” towards a low-carbon global economy. But he stressed there were “not going to be legally binding reduction targets like Kyoto”, a reference to the 1997 Kyoto protocol, a UN climate treaty that had targets for cutting emissions that countries ratifying it were legally obliged to meet. 

Delegates from 195 countries are due to finalise a new global climate accord in Paris that will replace the Kyoto treaty, which failed to stop emissions rising. The US signed but failed to ratify that treaty, largely because it did not cover China, now the world’s largest carbon polluter.

The Paris deal is supposed to cover all countries, but Mr Kerry’s comments underline the differences between the US and other nations over how to ensure it is robust enough to shift billions of dollars of investment away from fossil fuels and towards greener energy sources.

A European Commission spokeswoman on Wednesday said the commission and many nations “would like the Paris agreement to be in the form of a protocol or a treaty” which would represent “the strongest expression of political will and also for the future it provides predictability and durability”.

Privately, EU officials acknowledge the Obama administration is eager for a deal in Paris, but not one containing new, legally binding measures because these would strengthen arguments that the agreement needs approval from a hostile US Senate, which must ratify all treaties.

To that end, negotiators are trying to craft an agreement that satisfies all sides, possibly by making its rules and procedures legally binding, but not the actual targets in many of the climate pledges that nearly 160 countries have made this year for the deal.

The issue is particularly sensitive ahead of the 2016 presidential election given the chasm between the Democrats and Republicans running for the White House over the need and urgency to tackle climate change