The Paris Climate Agreement, signed in 2015, was a landmark agreement aimed at fighting climate change. The agreement aimed to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, the question remains: Was the Paris Climate Agreement an executive agreement?
To understand the answer to this question, we must first understand what an executive agreement is. An executive agreement is a legally binding agreement between the President of the United States and a foreign government. Unlike treaties, which require approval from the Senate, executive agreements do not require congressional approval.
So, was the Paris Climate Agreement an executive agreement? The answer is yes and no. While the Paris Climate Agreement did not have the formal title of an executive agreement, it was still binding under international law. Therefore, it did not need Senate approval to take effect.
The Paris Climate Agreement was adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was signed by the United States in 1992 and ratified by the Senate. The Paris Climate Agreement was negotiated and adopted under the authority of the UNFCCC, so it did not require Senate approval as a new treaty.
However, President Barack Obama used his executive authority to pledge the United States` commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement and to submit it to the United Nations. This made the Paris Climate Agreement an executive agreement in the sense that it was a commitment made by the President, rather than a treaty ratified by the Senate.
When President Donald Trump took office in 2017, he announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. However, the United States officially withdrew on November 4, 2020, the day after the presidential election. President-elect Joe Biden has since announced that the United States will rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, meaning that the United States will be bound by its commitments once again.
In conclusion, while the Paris Climate Agreement was not technically an executive agreement, it was still binding under international law and did not require Senate approval. The agreement was negotiated under the authority of the UNFCCC and was submitted to the United Nations by President Obama using his executive authority. The Paris Climate Agreement is a reminder of the importance of global cooperation in fighting climate change and the role of executive agreements in international relations.