Republicans are gearing up for a major showdown with President Barack Obama this year over his initiative for a global agreement on greenhouse gas emissions without the approval of Congress.
Obama is hoping that the U.N. climate talks scheduled for December in Paris will result in one of his greatest policy achievements by modifying environmental regulations for governments and corporations worldwide to build an outline for a green policy for decades to come, according to Politico
Although Obama has already come under fire from the GOP over his controversial plans, the president appears to be pressing ahead without the support of Capitol Hill while trying to fly under the radar.
"The president should not bypass Congress and try to negotiate a climate deal on his own that could cost American jobs," said Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.
"He has to have Senate approval for any new climate agreement and cannot bind the federal government by himself."
However, Obama believes the environmental talks in Paris could help to seal his legacy, and he could leave office in two years feeling like he has saved the world, Politico reported.
For that reason, behind the scenes Obama is quietly making a climate change deal a leading priority of his administration, and he's been raising the issue with foreign leaders at every opportunity.
His greenhouse gas agreement with China last November helped to launch his global green gambit, while his January meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi centered on concerns about the earth overheating.
"If I can encourage and gain commitments from the Chinese to put forward a serious plan to start curbing their greenhouse gases, and that then allows us to leverage the entire world for the conference that will be taking place later this year in Paris," Obama told VICE News on Monday.
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"When I'm done, we're still going to have a heck of a problem, but we will have made enough progress that the next president and the next generation can start building on it."
Obama's aides have been traveling to Peru, Germany and Switzerland while laying down the groundwork for a possible deal in Paris, according to Politico, which noted that an agreement would be considered voluntary and not a formal treaty, and thus it can be forged without the Senate having to sign off on it.
"When we think about the things that we want to get done that have significance and consequence, this is a big thing," said Brian Deese, Obama's new senior adviser, who took over the Paris preparations last month from leading White House strategist John Podesta.
But GOP Sens. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and Roy Blunt of Missouri have already tried to prevent any international agreement allowing different levels of emissions cuts for countries at different stages of industrialization, a major theme of the Paris talks. But their amendment to the Keystone XL pipeline approval bill failed.
California Gov. Jerry Brown has also been working behind the scenes to prevent the alleged warming of the planet by speaking to company chief executives as well as local leaders in China and Germany, according to the political news website.
"If Paris fails, that'll be a catastrophic blow to efforts to control what could become runaway climate change, which will stimulate mass migrations, extreme weather, rising sea levels, disease transmissions that we can hardly even imagine," said Brown last week.
"It's big, but it's more remote than immediate catastrophes. And that's why it takes imagination and steady, sequential steps to get carbon emissions under control."
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