President Obama clearly believes that the Supreme Court, in its 2007 decision, Mass. v. EPA, empowered the president, via the Environmental Protection Agency, to unlimited regulations of greenhouse gases without the advice or the consent of Congress. He has already shown that he means it. Barring an unlikely electoral earthquake off the Richter Scale, no new coal‐fired generation facility is ever going to be built.
On Aug. 26, though, Mr. Obama crossed a bridge too far, proposing a “Climate Accord” (really, a treaty) that will, in the well‐chosen words of The New York Times, “compel nations to cut their planet‐warming fossil fuel emissions.” Never mind that we are now in the 18th consecutive year of not warming the planet, according to two separate and independent measures of surface and near‐surface temperatures.
Do, however, mind that word “compel.” Dictionary.com gives four definitions: To force or drive, especially to a course of action; to secure or bring about by force; to force to submit, subdue; and to overpower.
How on God’s getting‐greener earth can the president think the nation can be “compelled,” absent the two‐thirds vote of the Senate explicitly required by the Constitution? After all, his proposal, which will be unveiled by Mr. Obama himself at the United Nations’ Climate Summit on Sept. 23 will “legally require” participants “to enact domestic climate change policies,” according to the Times. Isn’t that up to the standard of a binding international treaty?