Will climate change rules leave Congress behind?
New climate change regulations may be on the horizon, as it were, as Team Obama reportedly will bypass lawmakers in the U.S. Congress and take unilateral action on its own.
Along with his inner circle, President Obama has also been floating the idea of using executive orders to change the country’s immigration law without Congressional approval. Under Article I, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution, only Congress has the authority to engage in lawmaking in this area. That notwithstanding, the Obama administration has selectively enforced or not enforced immigration law, resulting in the suspension of deportations for approximately a million illegal immigrants and also released hundreds if not thousands of criminal aliens into the country, including gang members that may have recently entered the U.S. from Central America in the ongoing border surge.
The American people have probably lost track of how many times Obamacare has been changed by administration bureaucrats, again without obtaining the approval of the House and Senate.
As far its policy on man-made climate change, The New York Times claims that Obama and his minions will also ignore the legislative branch of the federal government and go it alone:
The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress. In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate. To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a ‘politically binding’ deal that would ‘name and shame’ countries into cutting their emissions. The deal is likely to face strong objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from poor countries around the world, but negotiators say it may be the only realistic path.”
An Obama climate change advisor added that “If you want a deal that includes all the major emitters, including the U.S., you cannot realistically pursue a legally binding treaty at this time.”
Under Article II, Section 3, of the U.S. Constitution, the president can negotiate treaties, but such agreements need 67 votes in the Senate to have the force of law.
Going around Congress, Obama’s EPA has also proposed strict rules that would that would limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Australia has recently gone in the opposite direction by repealing a controversial carbon tax on greenhouse gas emissions, fulfilling a key campaign promise by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the leader of the center-right coalition who was elected in a landslide last September. Abbott called it “a useless, destructive tax which damaged jobs, which hurt families’ cost of living, and which didn’t actually help the environment.”
Although the climate change/global warming debate has been framed in partisan terms in this country too, it’s worth noting that back in the Clinton administration, for economic reasons the Kyoto Protocol was disapproved by the U.S. Senate in a 95-0 resolution, obviously representing the sentiments of lawmakers from both political parties.
More recently, some experts who have questioned the so-called settled climate change science have found themselves shunned or censored by their colleagues to the detriment of their careers.
Commenting on the report that Obama may sidestep Congress when it comes to a climate change deal, Breitbart London columnist James Delingpole claimed that Obama wants a legacy issue with or without Congressional support. Decrying crony capitalism, Delingpole also argues that the Big Environmentalism is Big Business even if it results in the loss of jobs, prosperity, and personal freedom:
… There is absolutely no hard evidence that catastrophic, unprecedented man-made global warming is anything more than a figment of the President’s and his greenie chums’ warped imaginations. Fortunately for all the rent-seeking one percenters, bent climate ‘scientists’, green activists, ‘clean’ ‘energy’ lobbyists, environment correspondents and professional victim groups who depend on the “global warming” scare for their livelihood, the president has hit on the perfect solution…
…[I]t is the perfect way of shoring up [Obama’s] left-wing voter base while simultaneously rewarding all those rich liberal donors who have bankrolled his presidency. From Solyndra and BrightSource to the monstrously corrupt wind industry, Obama’s cronies have been enabled, by presidential fiat, to make many billions of dollars — much of this money funneled straight from the pockets of U.S. taxpayers, either in the form of stimulus loans for ventures which certainly would never have survived in a free market or in the form of compulsory subsidy payments for ‘clean’ energy.
About The New York Times report, a State Department representative said,“Not a word of the new climate agreement currently under discussion has been written, so it is entirely premature to say whether it will or won’t require Senate approval.”
When it comes to climate change, do you think the president is justified in potentially doing an end-run around Congress in what would appear to be a violation of separation of powers and checks and balances under the U.S. Constitution? Do you believe that powerful countries like Russia, China, or India will be the least bit concerned about being “shamed” over their environmental policies?
Added: With regard to climate change and other unilateral presidential actions, U.S. Senator Rand Paul opines in the clip below that Obama is not a king: