Will a Backdoor Cap and Trade Plan be One of Obama’s Last Acts in Office?
Those who believe that it’s in the best interest of the nation for Barack Obama’s presidency to terminate next January have been feeling their oats a bit lately. As Jennifer Rubin noted yesterday at the Washington Post’s “Right Turn” blog:
Whatever you think is the cause of the economic doldrums, it has now dawned on the Democrats and the press that Obama could lose this thing.
Quite so. But even if one indulges in the most optimistic projections for November, there’s a danger in getting too comfortable. There could be mischief brewing for the lame duck congressional session following the presidential election. As Conn Carroll reports in the Washington Examiner:
At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Wednesday, [Senator John] Kerry announced that he would not be submitting the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea [LOST] for a vote before the November election. Instead, Kerry intends to hold a series of hearings before the election, building the case for passage, before pushing the treaty in a lame-duck session. This is the exact same game plan Kerry executed to pass the New START treaty during the 2010 lame duck…
…If the Senate approves LOST this December, any country that believes itself harmed by global warming could force the U.S. into binding arbitration, most likely in front of the Annex VII Arbitral Tribunal, LOST’s default dispute resolution forum.
Any judgment from that tribunal would be final, unappealable, and immediately enforceable in U.S. federal court. In 1982, a similar arbitration body forced Canada to set hourly caps on their sulfur dioxide emissions, causing industry to spend millions on mitigation efforts. A LOST tribunal could set similar caps on U.S. carbon emissions, triggering trillions in economic damage.
Cap and trade, of course, was Obama’s other major first-term initiative besides Obamacare, but when the politics surrounding the former issue became toxic — and congressional Republicans hit back hard on the cap and trade plan — the administration backed off. But is anyone willing to bet that Obama’s sense of fair play will prevent him from backdooring through the policy in the dying days of his administration?
If so, you’d have to believe that a president who has no compunctions about stripping fundamental religious freedoms through administrative fiat, who’s already busy promising the Russian government that he’ll “have more flexibility” on missile defense when he doesn’t have to face the American electorate again, and who has already flirted with extralegal methods for enacting international carbon reduction would suddenly be stricken by conscience after facing the sting of rejection from the voters.
Those odds don’t look good. Which is why conservatives need to remain on guard until the day Obama departs for Chicago.