Inhofe, 13 Senators Urge Administration’s Candidness of US Paris Agreement “Commitments” to International Community


WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today led 13 Republicans in sending a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the administration’s candidness with the international community regarding the durability of commitments made on behalf of the United States under the Paris Agreement.


We are concerned the administration has not been forthright in acknowledging the legal limitations of the president’s domestic climate actions, primarily the Clean Power Plan, and the pathway the administration has taken to join the Agreement,” Inhofe and the Senators said in the letter. “[B]ypassing the U.S. Congress for convenience has consequences.  Given the United States’ central role to the durability of this Agreement, these consequences warrant a clear understanding by invested parties. [I]the context of climate change policies … congress’s unwillingness to support the president’s international efforts is not the result of gridlock – it is the result of explicit opposition,” the Senators said in the letter.


The Senators continued, “Paris Agreement parties relying on fulfillment of promised U.S. climate actions should be fully aware that the administration’s “commitment” is opposed by the majority of congress, its legal soundness is questioned by the U.S. Supreme Court, and, under the best of circumstances, the country will fall short of meeting the 26 to 28 percent reduction by a range of forty-five to sixty percent. Most importantly, any future administration will have numerous options to forego President Obama’s political commitments under the Paris Agreement and the fact that it will soon be in force is of no consequence.”




On Sept. 1, 2016, the EPW Majority released a statement on the announcement that China had officially joined the final Conference of Parties (COP21) climate agreement pursuant to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.


On May 13, 2016, Inhofe and Sens. Vitter (R-La.) and Barrasso (R-Wyo.) introduced a bill to prohibit funding for the UNFCCC and its related entities after accepting the “State of Palestine” as a full member.


On April 21, 2016, the EPW Majority released a white paper assessing the failed 1997 Kyoto Protocol treaty, providing insight to how the Paris Agreement will unfold.


On April 21, 2016, Inhofe had an op-ed published with the New York Post called, “Earth Day Marks the Composting of the Global Climate Deal.”


On April 18, 2016, Inhofe and Sens. Vitter (R-La.) and Barrasso (R-Wyo.) sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, along with 25 other Senators, requesting that the Obama Administration follow the law and prohibit funding for the UNFCCC and its related entities after accepting the “State of Palestine” as a full member.


On Jan. 25, 2016,  Inhofe had an op-ed published with the Washington Examiner called, “Why the Paris Climate Agreement will Fail.”


On Dec. 1, 2015, the EPW Majority released a white paper providing the first comprehensive account of the Senate’s legislative and oversight efforts during the 114th Congress to set the record straight on the Obama administration’s misguided climate agenda in the context of historical international agreements and negotiations leading up to the 21st session of the Conference of Parties (COP21) pursuant to the UNFCCC in Paris, France from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, 2015.


On Nov. 30, 2015, Inhofe had an op-ed published with CNN called, “Beware of Empty Climate Promises.”


On Nov. 19, 2015, Inhofe and Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), introduced a bipartisan resolution expressing the sense of the Senate with regard to any agreement reached at the 21st session of the Conference of Parties pursuant to the UNFCCC held this December. The purpose of the resolution is to further inform the international community of the U.S. Senate’s respective role.


On Nov. 19, 2015, Inhofe and Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and their colleagues sent 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, 2015, 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 Nov. 17, 2015, the U.S. Senate voted to disapprove of President Obama’s signature legacy regulation on global warming in S.J.Res. 23 and S.J.Res. 24. S.J.Res. 23 was introduced by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and S.J.Res. 24 was introduced by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).


On July 8, 2015, 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, 2015, 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, 2015,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.”