Possibility of Ratification by 2018: Medium
The United States has yet to ratify the Paris Agreement but plans to do so before the end of the year. In the United States most international treaties need approval by the US Congress and then the signature of the President before they can be formally ratified. However, the Obama administration argues that the Paris Agreement is not classified as a treaty. Rather it is considered an executive agreement because it does not require changes in any United States laws and it does not commit the US to mandated emission targets. At most, they argue, it commits countries to a process of reexamining their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen those efforts based on what is feasible. As such, the Agreement can be ratified with just the signature of the President. President Obama has signaled his intention to sign the Paris Agreement before he leaves office. The President is not required and does not want to submit the agreement to Congress for their approval. The right-wing Republican political party has the most votes in Congress and would likely not give its approval to the Paris agreement. Some in Congress are trying to argue that the Paris agreement should be classified as a treaty that requires Congressional approval.
Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Ben Carver