Liberal States, Cities Ask U.N. to Let Them Join Paris Agreement, Raising Legal Questions

Accord de Paris C'est Fait Jacky Naegelen Reuters
Jacky Naegelen/Reuters

A coalition of liberal mayors, governors, and businesses is planning to seek United Nations permission to submit to the Paris climate accord, after President Trump’s decision to pull the United States from the deal. 

It is a move that experts say could be illegal under the Constitution.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told The New York Times that the group, believed to include 30 mayors, three governors, at least 80 university presidents, and over a hundred businesses, is negotiating with the U.N. to have its submission accepted alongside contributions from other countries.

“We’re going to do everything America would have done if it had stayed committed,” Bloomberg, a U.N. envoy on climate change, said.

Bloomberg has drafted a letter to U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, saying they believe they could go it alone and still meet the targets pledged by President Barack Obama.

“The bulk of the decisions which drive U.S. climate action in the aggregate are made by cities, states, businesses, and civil society,” he wrote. “Collectively, these actors remain committed to the Paris accord.”

Secretary-General António Guterres’s spokesman did not respond to a request for comment from Breitbart News asking about the plan.

However, Christiana Figueres, a former climate official for the body, told the Times it was possible that the Bloomberg group’s submission could be accepted and included in future reports on progress being made.

Before Trump’s announcement, liberal mayors from New York City, Boston, and Los Angeles all said they would continue with the Paris agreement. The Times noted that all had since signed onto Bloomberg’s plan, along with mayors from Atlanta, Salt Lake City, and Pittsburgh.

But such a plan raises serious constitutional questions, namely the constitutional bar against from states entering into treaties and confederations.

“Under Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution, a state is forbidden from entering into any treaty, and that is what the Paris Climate Accord is,” Breitbart News Legal Editor Ken Klukowski commented for this story, explaining why the proposed agreement would be illegal for many of these participants.

“Cities are subdivisions of a state, and subject to the same restriction, as are all public universities,” he said.

Bloomberg also said his philanthropic organization, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and its partners will contribute up to $15 million to help fund the U.N.’s climate change budget, money it will lose from the U.S. withdrawal.

He later tweeted: “Washington can’t stop our climate progress.”

Adam Shaw is a politics reporter for Breitbart News based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY

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