Why Mitch McConnell Could Decide the Future of the Paris Climate Accord

Donald Trump doesn’t want to deal with it.

Coral Davenport reports that there is a battle waging in the Trump White House about whether or not the president should keep his campaign promise to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

On one side of that debate is Mr. Bannon, who as a former chief executive of Breitbart News published countless articles denouncing climate change as a hoax, and who has vowed to push Mr. Trump to transform all his major campaign promises into policy actions.

On the other side are Ms. [Ivanka] Trump, Mr. Tillerson, and a slew of foreign policy advisers and career diplomats who argue that the fallout of withdrawing from the accord could be severe, undercutting the United States’ credibility on other foreign policy issues and damaging relations with key allies.

Jeeze…tough call, huh?

This is all coming to a head because the president would like to include an announcement about this next week when he plans to sign an executive order to begin a review of how to undo Obama’s EPA regulations on climate change.

But perhaps he’ll actually go with door number three.

As Mr. Trump and his advisers weigh their Paris options, one proposal is gaining traction, according to participants in the debate: Mr. Trump could declare that the Paris agreement is a treaty that requires ratification by the Senate. The pact was designed not to have the legal force of a treaty specifically so that it would not have to go before the United States Senate, which would have assuredly failed to ratify it…

Proponents of that idea say it could shift some of the weight of the decision from Mr. Trump to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, at least in the eyes of some foreign diplomats, and of the president’s daughter.

That might not be a battle McConnell would shy away from. After all, he actively tried to undermine the agreement with other countries as it was being forged and wrote an op-ed encouraging individual states to openly defy the regulations that backed up the U.S. commitments contained in the accord.

But can you imagine what happens to the resistance movement in the lead-up to a Senate vote which will basically come down to acceptance or rejection of the need to combat climate change? Every one of the members of that body would have to go on record as to whether or not they are willing to join the rest of the world in working together to save the planet. It would be monumental.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.