Inhofe, Blunt, Manchin Introduce Resolution on International Climate Agreement

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, along with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), introduced a bipartisan resolution today expressing the sense of the Senate with regard to any agreement reached at the 21st session of the Conference of Parties pursuant to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held this December. The purpose of the resolution is to further inform the international community of the U.S. Senate’s respective role.

“The international community needs to be aware that the U.S. Congress and the American people do not support President Obama’s international climate agenda,” Inhofe said. “Expert testimony from the most recent Senate EPW oversight hearing has made it clear that nonbinding, political commitments along the lines of what Secretary Kerry recently announced would come from the international climate negotiations, are legally akin to ‘giving a speech, or stating at a news conference, that he will make reductions in emissions.’ Should the negotiations produce a more substantive outcome as European delegates announced, then there is no way around the Senate. I would urge caution in considering any diplomatic promises that may suggest otherwise as the president is once again attempting to make international promises he cannot deliver.” 

“The U.S. Senate must be able to exercise its constitutional role to approve any agreement that emerges from the Paris climate talks,” Manchin said.  “The energy-producing states in our country, especially West Virginia, and American consumers will be significantly affected by any deal made by this President. This Administration should not be able to unilaterally put American businesses at a disadvantage in the global economy by enacting unattainable and unproven mandates. The Senate must approve those agreements before they are enforced upon our people.”

“President Obama has shown a total disregard for the limits of his authority and the interests of the American people when it comes to pushing his politically-driven climate agenda,” Blunt said. “There is no ‘pen and phone’ clause in the Constitution, but there is an advice and consent provision, and we intend to use it to stop the president from enacting a bad deal that will hurt American workers, families, consumers, and communities.”   



The introduction of this resolution follows two Senate EPW oversight hearings examining the international climate negotiations.  The first hearing on July 8, focused on the technical and legal shortcomings of President Obama’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) that is centered on the successful implementation of the EPA’s Power Plan, an unauthorized regulation that will soon be put on hold in the courts.  The second hearing on Nov. 18 assessed legal form of the expected international climate agreement, and the appropriate role of the Senate and the state of the Green Climate Fund.

On Nov. 19, Inhofe and Barrasso and their colleagues will send a letter to the president encouraging U.S. negotiators to be forthcoming to foreign counterparts of Congress’s role over the Green Climate Fund and any binding agreement.

On Nov. 18, Hofstra University Professor of Law, Julian Ku, testified that the president could not legally bind the United States to make emission reduction targets through a sole executive agreement and that any attempt to suggest otherwise could result in “misleading foreign governments” or “violat[ing] the Constitution.”  Oren Cass, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute highlighted how the UN negotiations ultimately are an attempt to redistribute developed countries cash in the form of “climate finance,” which the U.S. congress can “strongly resist.” Mr. Stephen Eule, vice president of Climate and Technology at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy, revealed that other countries’ INDCs are nothing more than business as usual since developing countries have a much greater interest in “pursing economic growth and poverty eradication than … reducing GHG emissions.”

On July 8, Mr. David Bookbinder, former Sierra Club chief climate counsel, testified before the U.S. Senate EPW Committee, that the president’s goal would fall dramatically short of meeting the president’s target to cut emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. Even the minority witness from the World Resources Institute admitted that additional actions would have to take place, which former EPA Air Administrator, Jeff Holmstead suggested would likely come through “a greater regulatory burden on rural America” in the form of agriculture and other industrial regulations. 

On July 8, Inhofe led ten Senators in a letter to President Obama requesting a detailed response for how the U.S. will plan to meet a pledge of 26-28 percent emissions reduction by 2025, as represented by the INDC submitted to the UNFCCC. Senators are still awaiting the president’s response.

On Feb. 2, Inhofe released a statement on the president’s budget proposal, in which Inhofe said, “I will not support any special funds, including the $500 million for the Green Climate Fund, to further [the president’s] climate agenda that is eroding states’ rights and making it unnecessarily difficult to do business in America.” 

On Nov. 14, 2014, Inhofe released a statement in response to President Obama’s pledge of $3 billion to the U.N. Green Climate Fund.

To read the full resolution, click here.