Can He Do That?: A Constitutional Analysis of President Trump's Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement

Author(s)

David Hubinger

Details

Faculty editor: Michael Ramsey
Publication: International Law Journal
Volume: 20
Issue: 1
Start Page: 127
Month: December
Year: 2018
Type: Faculty Essay
Instititional Repository (IR) location of full article: https://digital.sandiego.edu/ilj/vol20/iss1/

Abstract

This Article is structured to give context as to the history of United Nations-sponsored, climate change centered, international agreements from the early 1990s to the present. The Article also shows how the goals and responsibilities placed on the United States as a part of the Paris Agreement may still be realized even without full party membership. Additionally, the Article discusses the structural framework of the Paris Agreement and the significance of its legal classification when deciding how President Trump can leave the agreement in accordance with international law. The Article will also discuss how President Trump’s actions regarding the Paris Agreement will impact the international climate change field, and what sorts of solutions are available at both the state and national level. Specifically, Part II of this Article will provide a background on the history of the United States’ approach to climate change agreements proposed over the past thirty years, the various United Nations sponsored agreements proposed and enacted by previous presidential administrations, and how the Paris Agreement compared to previous attempts. Part III will focus primarily on the various means of withdrawal from or termination of the Paris Agreement by the Trump administration. Depending on President Trump’s concerns, there are a few different ways that the United States can end its membership in the Paris Agreement. The options vary regarding speed of withdrawal or termination, and level of international legality. Part III will also focus on what sort of precedent exists for a unilateral withdrawal by the Trump administration without the advice and consent of the Senate, and ultimately whether or not this power is constitutional. Finally, Part IV will focus on the potential ramifications both domestically and globally stemming from President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Part IV further addresses how best to reconcile President Trump’s goals of protecting the United States’ power at the international table and maintaining economic strength domestically with the important global goals set forth by our international peers.