Donald Trump did his best to spite Barack Obama by attempting to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, but as The New York Times points out, he really doesn’t have the authority to do so.
Here is what the NYT wrote:
But he will stick to the withdrawal process laid out in the Paris agreement, which President Barack Obama joined and most of the world has already ratified.
That could take nearly four years to complete, meaning a final decision would be up to the American voters in the next presidential election.
So what does this all mean?
It means that despite Trump’s worst efforts, the withdrawal process would not be completed until the week following our next presidential election in 2020.
Should Trump lose that election (or should he be removed from office at some point before the November 2020 elections), his actions would have been futile.
You might find this situation somewhat similar to the fall 2016, when Mitch McConnell and the Republicans decided to block President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland.
Their rationale was that because the appointment vacancy came so close to a presidential election, that the new president alone should have the authority to make the appointment.
The big difference between these situations is that the action of the Republicans was completely and utterly unconstitutional, while the withdrawal timeline for the Paris agreement is functioning exactly the way it was designed.