Sunday, January 22, 2017

Submit the Paris Climate Agreement to Congress for Proper Treaty Ratification

A column by Paul Mulshine, Donald Trump talks to a Jersey guy about a long-overdue debate on climate change, point to a hopeful new approach to climate change from the new Donald Trump Administration. You never know with the erratic Trump, who, as the Christian Science Monitor reports, went from the ridiculous claim that global warming is “a hoax fabricated by the Chinese” to being “open to upholding the international agreement to reduce greenhouse gases.”

But as Mulshine reports, Trump has consulted a top skeptic of the theory of CO2-caused climate catastrophe. Mulshine writes:

Last week the president-elect had a talk on the issue of climate change with the Princeton physics professor who is my go-to guy on climate questions, William Happer.

The Washington Post reported that the 77-year-old Happer didn't respond to reporters' questions after leaving the interview. But he did respond to me when I sent him an email.

Happer told me he couldn't discuss the issue at the moment, but "Maybe in a week or two after Mr. Trump makes some personnel decisions."

I certainly hope one of those decisions is to put Happer in a prominent position in the incoming Trump administration.

Happer and another Princeton physicist, the brilliant Freeman Dyson, are both of the opinion that atmospheric CO-2 will likely have some effect on climate, but that the effect has been greatly exaggerated.

For that they are often classified as climate-change "deniers." But they don't deny climate change. They simply argue that the change will likely be for the better.

Mulshine argues that “climate alarmists [have] shut off what should be a vibrant political debate” but that “now it looks like we are finally going to have a political debate that is long overdue.”

I left these comments:

“[I]t looks like we are finally going to have a political debate that is long overdue.”

And how refreshing that would be! The climate catastrophists with their dogmatic “the debate is over” mantra have had the upper hand for too long.

I suggest Trump should immediately suspend America’s membership in the Paris Climate Accord, as he promised, and submit the treaty to Congress for ratification, as it should have been. That should get the debate off to a fast start.

(Yes, I know, Obama sidestepped the Constitution by claiming the agreement is not a treaty and thus not required to be ratified by Congress. He may or may not be technically right. But Obama often acted more like a King who rules over subjects than a president who serves citizens. His end run around Congress may not be technically unconstitutional but it certainly violates the spirit of the Treaty Clause, which states that the president “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.”)


Personally, I think the Climate Paris Agreement is a disaster for America. It commits Americans, in principle, to sacrificing their energy security, economic well-being, and quality of life for the sake of President Obama’s “environmental legacy,” in the process apologizing for America’s virtues—its freedom and its consequent economic prosperity—while allowing the rest of the world to expand fossil fuels and greenhouse gases as they [smartly] please. This, in the name of American “leadership” on climate change (what about economic leadership?).

However, a vigorous ratification debate in the Senate would be great for Americans. Whatever emerges from the Senate, a proper and illuminating debate on climate change, fossil fuels, energy in general, and what to do about them is likely to advance the cause of objective and balanced analysis of these important issues, and give voice to all of those “skeptics” who have been vilified and marginalized for so long as “deniers.”

Related Reading:

The Truth About Greenhouse Gases—William Happer, Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics at Princeton University.

The Treaty Clause Can’t Be Ignored—Michael J. Glennon for the New York Times

Why the Paris Climate Agreement Is a TreatyYPFP for the Huffington Post

No comments: