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Earth Government Politics

The US Can't Leave The Paris Climate Deal Until 2020 (nytimes.com) 403

An anonymous reader quotes the New York Times: Last week, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. But it will take more than one speech to pull out: Under the rules of the deal, which the White House says it will follow, the earliest any country can leave is November 4, 2020. That means the United States will remain a party to the accord for nearly all of Mr. Trump's current term... Nov. 4, 2019 is the earliest date that the United States can submit a written notice to the United Nations that it is withdrawing from the Paris deal -- exactly three years after it came into force. As soon as that happens, the United States can leave the accord in exactly one year... If a new president enters the White House on Jan. 20, 2021, he or she could easily submit a written notice to the United Nations that the United States would like to rejoin the Paris accord. Within 30 days, the United States could re-enter the agreement and submit a new pledge for how the country plans to tackle climate change.
The article also acknowledges "a growing coalition of states, cities and companies that are pledging to do as much as they can to meet the United States' climate goals on their own."

The US Can't Leave The Paris Climate Deal Until 2020

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  • Let me get this straight... It's a non-binding accord (other than we can't leave until 4 Nov 2019). So nothing changes.

    • Re:Woopie (Score:5, Informative)

      by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday June 11, 2017 @11:49AM (#54596311)

      Let me get this straight... It's a non-binding accord (other than we can't leave until 4 Nov 2019). So nothing changes.

      Correct. This is just political mastrubation.

      Meanwhile, scientists and engineers are busy working on better solar panels, more efficient wind turbines, biofuels, battery tech, integrated grids, carbon sequestration, etc. Stuff that actually matters.

      Nerds will save the world, not politicians.

      • Amen brother, totally correct. Laws do not create better technology...

    • Let me get this straight... It's a non-binding accord (other than we can't leave until 4 Nov 2019). So nothing changes.

      An argument can be made that, if we can't leave the Paris Agreement for four years, that's binding on the US -- and if it's binding on the US, that means it's a treaty, which has to be ratified by the Senate, which it never was. So the provisions of the Paris Agreement, including the conditions on exit, are of no effect.

  • by rossz ( 67331 ) <<ten.rekibkeeg> <ta> <ergo>> on Sunday June 11, 2017 @11:39AM (#54596275) Homepage Journal

    Since the Paris deal was never submitted to the Senate for confirmation, it is not a legally binding treaty, only a verbal agreement by Obama.

    I am not arguing for or against the climate deal, just pointing out a simple fact of US law.

    Citation: US Constitution Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, includes the Treaty Clause, which empowers the president of the United States to propose and chiefly negotiate agreements, which must be confirmed by the Senate, between the United States and other countries, which become treaties between the United ..

    • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Sunday June 11, 2017 @11:49AM (#54596315)

      Since the Paris deal was never submitted to the Senate for confirmation, it is not a legally binding treaty, only a verbal agreement by Obama.

      Shut up, Trump doesn't know that! ;)

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by will_die ( 586523 )
        So you are applying your idiot thinking on him, since it was mentioned in his speech he knew. However you in just reading the various sites such as huffington post. .
        • So you are applying your idiot thinking on him

          No, dum dum, I was making a joke.

    • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Sunday June 11, 2017 @11:58AM (#54596361) Homepage
      And yet, according to TFA, The Whitehouse is going to honour that four-year withdrawal clause over a "treaty" that is both legally non-binding and doesn't include any real penalties for failing to meet its conditions in the first place. Sure sounds more like a way to be able to claim that something promised in a campaign has been achieved without actually doing anything meaningful than anything else. Sure enough, the Pro-Trump side of the gallery is pointing to a campaign goal met and the other that it's meaningless because of promises (as yet unmet) by major corporations and numerous US States to meet their Paris obligations anyway.

      Same swamp, different day.
    • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Sunday June 11, 2017 @12:02PM (#54596389) Homepage Journal

      Since the Paris deal was never submitted to the Senate for confirmation, it is not a legally binding treaty, only a verbal agreement by Obama.

      I am not arguing for or against the climate deal, just pointing out a simple fact of US law.

      Citation: US Constitution Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, includes the Treaty Clause, which empowers the president of the United States to propose and chiefly negotiate agreements, which must be confirmed by the Senate, between the United States and other countries, which become treaties between the United ..

      That's not even remotely true.

      The Paris deal isn't a treaty, it's an "accord". Because that's different, it can be agreed to by the president without any buy-in from the legislature. It comes under the "umbrella" treaty agreement the US has with the UN which *was* ratified by congress.

      And if you disagree, note that Obama actually taught constitutional law at college, and no one disagreed with the action at the time - no one in the legislature brought the issue or the supreme court, no group in the US sued the government and pushed it to the supreme court.

      I don't know where people get these ideas from. A plain-text reading of the constitution does not always convey the complexity and intricacies of the underlying law.

      • by quenda ( 644621 )

        The Paris deal isn't a treaty, it's an "accord".

        And I understand that the main reason it was never a treaty was exactly this: The US gov't would never have got it through the coal-industry, sorry, Republican-controlled congress.

      • And if you disagree, note that Obama actually taught constitutional law at college,

        I had 'Associate Professors' like Obama when I was in College. I assume a lot of us have had that experience.

      • You're literally just repeating exactly what he said in different language. Since the Paris accord never passed through the Congress or Senate, it was an agreement made by the president alone under his existing authority and lacks any of the force of law. Basically, Obama just agreed to do something he could have already done. Trump has no obligation to follow it at all, and could pull the US out of it today.

      • kind of how the obamacare "tax" wasnt a "tax" until the courts got involved and said it was?

        if it walks like a duck.....
      • by dhawton ( 691348 )
        Since the president doesn't have the authority under the Constitution to create laws, agreeing to the "accord" doesn't have change anything about the United States under the Constitution. Obama taught Constitutional Law, but then signed Executive Orders attempting to create law "because of Congress's inaction". Interesting, where under the Constitution does the executive branch have authority to create law? Exactly.
      • The Paris deal isn't a treaty, it's an "accord". Because that's different, it can be agreed to by the president without any buy-in from the legislature.

        And the president can also choose not to do anything about its implementation since it's all voluntary anyway, and since there are no penalties.

        It comes under the "umbrella" treaty agreement the US has with the UN which *was* ratified by congress.

        Push that narrative far enough and the US will simply leave the treaty entirely.

        Obama actually taught constitutio

    • by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Sunday June 11, 2017 @01:23PM (#54596791)
      What you said is largely inaccurate, but there's a kernel of truth.

      Since the Paris deal was never submitted to the Senate for confirmation, it is not a legally binding treaty, only a verbal agreement by Obama.

      The Paris Agreement was adopted as part of the UNFCCC [wikipedia.org] (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), which IS a treaty the U.S. adopted in 1992 [congress.gov].

      Most of the legally binding aspects of the Paris accord, which include stuff like ongoing monitoring of climate change, reports to the international organization, etc. were part of that original treaty.

      Where you're sort of right is that just about all the rest of the Paris agreement was set VOLUNTARILY by each country, including specific actions to mitigate emissions, goal levels for each country, etc. While it would be against the spirit of the Paris agreement, there's absolutely nothing in that agreement that prevents the U.S. from unilaterally lowering its own goals (which the U.S. set itself).

      There is disagreement on this point, but a number of U.S. officials who actually were involved with the drafting and negotiation of the original Paris agreement have gone on the record to state the U.S. could "backslide" on its goals. They say that specific language was originally considered that would prevent "backsliding," but it was removed from the final version of the agreement. Obviously there would likely be diplomatic backlash if the U.S. lowers its goals, but not likely worse than what it will experience by backing out entirely.

      Which makes Trump's claims all the more mystifying. Especially about his claims that maybe the U.S. could "get a better deal." The U.S. DETERMINED the "deal." It could change its own terms. About the only thing required by the deal that the U.S. would be legally obligated to in the future would be ongoing monitoring and reports on emissions, which (as I said) was basically already part of the original Senate-approved treaty in 1992.

      The ONLY reason to withdraw completely is to attempt to send a message that climate change isn't real and thus the entire exercise of the agreement is invalid. But all the rhetoric about "getting a better deal" is complete and utter balderdash.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      The situation is actually much more complex than you seem to think. Sure, as matter of US law, the accord is not technically a "treaty", and therefore the President can give it the old heave ho. But as a matter international law...

      Well, let's start there. Calling international law "law" is misleading. It's not law in the sense of state and federal law, where there is an authority with overwhelming power who compels obedience. International law is more like politics, or norms of behavior.

      There is no powe

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday June 11, 2017 @11:47AM (#54596305)
    with no enforceable requirements. It's a moot point when we pull out. The point is that we've made the gesture to pull out. It's basically a giant middle finger to the rest of the world.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ScentCone ( 795499 )
      Yes, it's a giant finger given to the people who wanted to use climate change concerns as a way to make countries like the US fork over a bunch of cash to other countries with no obligation on their part to spend it on anything in particular, while also leaving "developing" countries like China completely off the hook.

      Meanwhile, everything that's already being done to develop new and more efficient, cleaner technologies will continue to happen anyway. The Paris agreement was just Obama genuflecting in an
    • Why is it that a US Politician doing something which favors the US is giving a "middle finger" to the world? India stating in that same accord that they would not take any action until they received $2 Trillion dollars was not a middle finger to the world? The majority of countries not having to take any action yet receiving US Tax payer dollars in "aid" is not a middle finger to the rest of the world?

      Sorry, but this was an anti-US agreement. Obama did a whole lot of those, and had no problem telling the

      • >"Sorry, but this was an anti-US agreement. Obama did a whole lot of those, and had no problem telling the world how he felt about the US, so that should not be a surprise.Read the damn thing! Pulling out is Pro-American. Being willing to negotiate a fair treaty, as the Trump administration said they would attempt to do immediately..."

        Here we go again, someone trying to be logical with the ultra-liberal progressive-religious out there. Haven't you learned yet that nothing Trump does could possibly be go

  • by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Sunday June 11, 2017 @11:49AM (#54596313)

    None of the terms are binding. So while we technically we might still have to be part of it until 2020, if we decide to throw it out, we can just start ignoring totally now.

  • Whether we stay or leave (or return) will be a 2020 presidential election topic.
  • by sethstorm ( 512897 ) on Sunday June 11, 2017 @12:20PM (#54596469) Homepage

    If it's so much of a nothingburger where the US pays and developing nations don't, why bother trying to stay in? As for the states and other entities wishing to bankrupt themselves into compliance, that's on them.

    It'd be more credible if it was an actual treaty and developing nations actually did more than face-saving gestures.

    • It'd be more credible if it was an actual treaty and developing nations actually did more than face-saving gestures.

      Many have committed to more than "face-saving gestures."

      The whole point of Paris was to avoid the diplomatic debacle of Kyoto. Trying to negotiate all sorts of "hard" details in a binding treaty just meant that a lot of countries tried to keep the standards as low as possible, and some countries (e.g., the U.S.) just refused to sign entirely.

      Nobody ever thought the Paris agreement was great. But the idea was at least to get as many nations as possible "at the negotiating table" to (1) acknowledge that

  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Sunday June 11, 2017 @01:18PM (#54596769) Homepage Journal

    /Paris/ is an accord of the UNFCCC. The USA can withdraw from the UNFCCC one year after giving its notice.

    They talked about this recently on Science Friday, but here's an article with quite a bit of detail:

    http://www.heritage.org/enviro... [heritage.org]

  • US is choosing to leave in 2020. It does not need to follow any rules in the accord.

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Sunday June 11, 2017 @03:11PM (#54597359)

    ... So we never entered into it in the first place.

    Presidential agreements are not binding on future administrations.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com... [washingtonpost.com]

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