Rep. Lauren Boebert, Colorado Republican, has introduced a bill to block the Biden administration from reentering the Paris agreement until it receives Senate confirmation, a nod to the longstanding debate over the accord’s legitimacy.
Her bill, which has 11 GOP cosponsors, bars Congress from appropriating funds to implement the international climate accord until it receives Senate ratification, a step that former President Obama skipped when he used his executive authority to enter the agreement in 2016.
“My bill prohibits Congress from spending a single penny on the Paris Agreement until this treaty is ratified by the United States Senate,” said Ms. Boebert in a Thursday press release. “Joe Biden took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution. If he wants to keep it, he must transmit the job-killing Paris Agreement to the U.S. Senate for ratification.”
The bill has little chance of passing the Democrat-controlled House, but the legislation has drawn attention to the debate over whether the Paris accord is an executive agreement, as the Obama administration maintained, or a treaty that requires the advice and consent of the Senate under the Constitution.
Mr. Biden, citing “a climate in crisis,” signed an executive order Wednesday to rejoin the Paris agreement after former President Trump set into motion the process to exit the accord via his 2017 executive order. The U.S. withdrawal became official on Nov. 4.
“Unilaterally entering the Paris Agreement was wrong in 2016 and it’s wrong now,” Ms. Boebert said. “Responsible energy production supports more than 230,000 Colorado jobs. The Paris Agreement puts these jobs at risk and will increase energy costs. $4 per gallon gasoline, here we go again!”
Ratifying a treaty requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate, which Mr. Biden would be unlikely to secure in the 50-50 Senate.
Opponents had urged Trump administration officials to transmit the agreement to the Senate before Mr. Trump left office in an effort to create a roadblock for the Biden team, but the document was never sent, said Myron Ebell, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment.
The 2015 accord, which has been joined by 189 countries, seeks to limit the increase in global carbon-dioxide emissions to below 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels by the end of the century.
Under the non-binding accord, the U.S. agreed to reduce emissions by 26-28% from 2005 levels by 2025, which Mr. Trump argued was unfair, given that China, the world’s biggest emitter and second-largest economy, only agreed to reach peak emissions by 2030.
The U.S. has led the world on a per-country basis in reducing its carbon emissions, largely by replacing coal with natural gas in electricity generation. From 2018-19, U.S. power-plant emissions dropped 2.9%, according to the International Energy Agency.