Climate Change: Frequently Asked Questions About the 2015 Paris Agreement (Paperback)
The Paris Agreement (PA) to address climate change internationally entered into force on November 4, 2016. The United States is one of 149 Parties to the treaty; President Barack Obama accepted the agreement rather than ratifying it with the advice and consent of the Senate. On June 1, 2017, President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to withdraw the United States from the agreement and that his Administration would seek to reopen negotiations on the PA or on a new Experts broadly agree that stabilizing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere to avoid dangerous GHG-induced climate change would require concerted efforts by all large emitting nations. The United States is the second largest emitter of GHG globally after China. Toward this purpose, the PA outlines goals and a structure for international cooperation to slow climate change and mitigate its impacts over decades to come. The PA is subsidiary to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which the United States ratified in 1992 with the advice and consent of the Senate and which entered into force in 1994. The PA requires that nations submit pledges to abate their GHG emissions, set goals to adapt to climate change, and cooperate toward these ends, including mobilization of financial and other support. The negotiators intended the PA to be legally binding on its Parties, though not all provisions in it are mandatory. Some are recommendations or collective commitments to which it would be difficult to hold an individual Party accountable. Obama Administration officials stated that the PA is not a treaty requiring Senate advice and consent to ratification. President Obama signed an instrument of acceptance on behalf of the United States on August 29, 2016, without submitting it to Congress. In 2015, Members of the 114th Congress introduced several resolutions to express the sense that the PA should be submitted for the advice and consent of the Senate. Additionally, resolutions were introduced in the House to oppose the PA or set conditions on its signature or ratification by the United States. None received further action.