August 27, 2014
The Obama administration will seek a non-binding international accord – rather than a treaty – at a United Nations climate summit in Paris next year on reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
It was a widely anticipated move, as President Barack Obama has repeatedly said he would act alone, bypassing Congress, if lawmakers declined to support his proposal.
That's why, experts say, a nonbinding agreement may be the most the U.S. can deliver, despite sharp protest from the European Union, which favors a more stringent accord on climate change, and island nations that are already feeling the effects of global warming, from more extreme weather to rising sea levels.
“I can see what they’re saying – we want a binding agreement to substantially reduce emissions yesterday, but if not yesterday, at least in this round of negotiations, but that just doesn’t look likely with the Congress that we have, the Senate that we have,” says Vicki Arroyo, executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center. “When you think about the situation with Congress, there are really no good options.”