The U.S. Senate may pass legislation to slow climate change and then fail to approve a global treaty that commits nations to do so, Senator John Kerry said.
Kerry, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, will be a leader in Senate efforts to place the first domestic curbs on greenhouse gases, after the House approved a measure last week. Even if a Senate bill passes, there may not be enough support to ratify an international accord incorporating the U.S. commitments, the Massachusetts Democrat said in an interview.
A possible Senate rejection poses a threat to the 192- nation effort to forge an agreement, which scientists say can help slow warming that’s raising sea levels and changing rainfall patterns globally.
“We are definitely going to make more progress if there is a strong international
agreement that the U.S. is a party to,” said Nigel Purvis, who in the 1990s worked as a U.S. negotiator on the Kyoto climate treaty that the U.S. didn’t ratify. Passing domestic climate-change legislation remains the most crucial step, Purvis said.
Senate ratification of a treaty would require 67 votes, compared with 60 for legislation.
“Sixty-seven votes is a big target here,” Kerry said last week, before Congress left for a one-week break. “We may be able to pass something that puts America on track to accomplish our set of goals. But we may pass it with 60 votes, or 61 or whatever, and that’s not 67.” >>>MORE