Center for American Progress

A Potential Paris Climate Agreement May Not Require Congressional Approval
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A Potential Paris Climate Agreement May Not Require Congressional Approval

It is becoming increasingly clear that the final agreement could lack the features that would suggest the need for formal congressional consent.

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In December 2015, the parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC, will meet in Paris to strike a new international agreement that aims to limit climate change. A central aspect of the agreement will be a set of national goals—from both developed and developing countries—to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many major emitters, including the United States, China, the European Union, and Mexico, have already announced their intended goals. The United States, for example, aims to reduce emissions 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

There has been considerable discussion, however, about whether the United States will be able to become a party to the agreement, given the conspicuous opposition of some members of the U.S. Senate to addressing climate change. This report aims to shed light on this discussion by explaining the types of international agreements in the United States and the possible nature of the forthcoming climate agreement.

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