Tags: word | change | climate | pact | kerry

Last-Minute Word Change Shields Climate Pact From Senate Vote

Image: Last-Minute Word Change Shields Climate Pact From Senate Vote

By    |   Saturday, 12 Dec 2015 09:09 PM

A last-minute change in one word in the Paris climate agreement kept the deal from being sent to the Senate, where it would have met certain death by long skeptical Republicans. The issue emanated from a single sentence in Article 4 of the accord, Politico reports.

It declared that wealthier countries "shall" set economy-wide targets for cutting their greenhouse gas pollution. In earlier drafts of the agreement that was eventually approved Saturday, the word "shall" had been "should," according to Politico.

And, in the climate accords of the United Nations, "shall" implies legal obligation, while "should" does not. Without the change, the Obama administration would have had to submit the final agreement for Senate approval, Politico reports.

The Republican-led chamber would have definitely killed the deal.

"When I looked at that, I said, 'We cannot do this and we will not do this,'" Secretary of State John Kerry said in Paris, Politico reports. "'And either it changes or President Obama and the United States will not be able to support this agreement.'"

Kerry's decision set off an 11th-hour scramble involving U.S. negotiators and French officials that led to the wording change, which was read aloud before the vote was ultimately taken, according to Politico.

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A last-minute change in one word in the Paris climate agreement kept the deal from being sent to the Senate, where it would have met certain death by long skeptical Republicans.The issue emanated from a single sentence in Article 4 of the accord, Politico reports. It...
word, change, climate, pact, kerry
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2015-09-12
Saturday, 12 Dec 2015 09:09 PM
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