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International Laws and Treaties

Paris climate conference: Without Congress' support, Obama's dealmaking powers are limited

Paris climate conference: Without Congress' support, Obama's dealmaking powers are limited

As more than 190 nations meet this week to negotiate an agreement to limit greenhouse gases, President Obama finds himself in a terrible bind.

On one side is international pressure to vest any climate deal with what international law considers to be binding legal force. On the other is the political difficulty, even the impossibility, of approving a climate treaty under our Constitution because of the need for approval by two-thirds of the Senate.

To realize the purported benefits of limiting greenhouse gases, nations must undergo the economic pain of reducing carbon-based fuels. Because all nations benefit from any reduction, individual countries have an incentive to keep...

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