Republican senators intend to challenge the administration's plan to sign an international agreement on greenhouse-gas emissions without the advice and consent of the Senate, The Wall Street Journal
Negotiators for some 200 countries are currently wrapping up an accord that would commit to decreasing greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide
. Negotiators basically agreed on the wording of the pact in Geneva in February and expect to sign the deal at a Paris conference in December.
The White House said that existing law gives the president authority to join the pact.
"We're operating in a space where we feel comfortable that we have the authority that we need to galvanize global momentum on this issue," Brian Deese, senior adviser to the president on energy issues, told the Journal.
The U.S. would commit to reducing greenhouse gases by almost 30 percent by 2025 using 2005 emission levels as a yardstick, according to the Journal.
Republicans are, meanwhile, hoping that a simultaneous legal challenge
to the EPA emissions standards will complicate the president's plan to finalize U.S. participation in the international deal.
GOP lawmakers oppose the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions on the grounds that it will harm the coal industry as well as the economy, and because a unilateral move to sign an international climate accord goes well beyond President Barack Obama's constitutional power.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that the arrangement Republicans and Democrats agreed on to handle any final Iran nuclear deal could serve as a basis for the Senate's approach
to the greenhouse-gas emissions pact, the Journal reported.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said Republicans could decide to send a letter to the nations taking part in the climate talks informing them that the president does not have automatic authority to sign an international treaty without the Senate's approval. Republican senators had earlier taken a similar tack
on the Iranian nuclear talks.
Todd Stern, the State Department's special envoy for climate change, said that other countries are aware of the controversy over the president's power to sign an accord.
"Countries want to get reassurance that the U.S. can deliver on what we've said that we're doing. I wouldn't say it's a big drumbeat, but I have definitely been asked that," the Journal reported.
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