agreement setting emissions targets or any financial commitment to it without approval by Congress.”
This means that the agreement is based somewhat tenuously on the hope that countries will feel pressured to live up to their agreements – despite no real consequences if they do not.
It also means that because Congress has been carefully eliminated from the deal, in order for the agreement to have any real weight in the United States, the president needs to stand behind it. As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in the weeks leading up to the agreement, “The next president could simply tear it up.” The presidential nominees’ views vary widely – from Ted Cruz’s view that global warming is simply nonexistent to Bernie Sanders’ view that the Paris accord goes “nowhere near far enough.”
Despite these flaws, most see agreement is seen as a good starting point, and momentous in the breadth of cooperation. As Bill McKibben, Co-founder of 350.org, a climate advocacy group, stated in a press release, “This didn’t save the planet but it may have saved the chance of saving the planet.”