Sen. Jim Webb sent the following letter to President Barack Obama concerning committing the United States to "binding" international agreements without ratification of the U.S. Senate.
Dear Mr. President:
I would like to express my concern regarding reports that the Administration may believe it has the unilateral power to commit the government of the United States to certain standards that may be agreed upon at the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties 15 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The phrase “politically binding” has been used.
Although details have not been made available, recent statements by Special Envoy on Climate Change Todd Stern indicate that negotiators may be intending to commit the United States to a nationwide emission reduction program. As you well know from your time in the Senate, only specific legislation agreed upon in the Congress, or a treaty ratified by the Senate, could actually create such a commitment on behalf of our country.
I would very much appreciate having this matter clarified in advance of the Copenhagen meetings.
United States Senator