The post below addresses the legality of the expected withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change by the United States under the next Administration.
The White House characterized the Paris Agreement on climate change as an “executive agreement” that was adopted upon signing by the President, and as such a subsequent President can terminate it. Under the US Constitution, the difference between an executive agreement and a treaty is that a treaty must be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate, which is a process President Obama did not initiate.
As reflected in Article 15 of the Paris Agreement, the agreement has no penalty for withdrawing from (or ignoring) it: “A mechanism to facilitate implementation of and promote compliance with the provisions of this agreement is hereby established. [That] mechanism … shall consist of a committee that … shall function in a manner that is … non-adversarial and non-punitive.”
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