The U.S. Should Withdraw from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

In order to satisfy its commitments to the recently signed Paris Agreement on climate change, the Obama Administration plans to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2025 by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels. If the U.S. follows through with this plan by restricting access to carbon dioxide–emitting natural resources, American households and businesses will incur higher energy costs. These increases in costs will, in turn, slow economic growth and reduce per capita income growth while having little to no impact on the projected warming. Withdrawing from the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change would send a clear signal that the U.S. believes that the widespread international approach is costly and ineffective and would avoid future arrears to the UNFCCC as current law should prohibit U.S. financial contributions after the Palestinian Authority formally acceded to the treaty. Withdrawal would not preclude the U.S. from studying climate change, understanding the risks, and working with a smaller group of nations through informal arrangements to undertake appropriate steps. It would, however, prevent abuse of the UNFCCC framework as a vehicle for asserting U.S. commitments while avoiding Senate advice and consent in the treaty process.

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