Why Obama is Bypassing Congress on Climate

The Obama administration is sidestepping the legislative branch by updating a previously ratified treaty and using it as a basis for a new international climate change agreement. The U.S. Constitution requires that legally binding international treaties be approved by two-thirds of the Senate, but Republican and some Democratic senators who are well-funded by carbon-polluting interests have repeatedly voted against measures to address climate change. The move comes in anticipation of a likely Republican takeover of the Senate after the midterm elections, which would make it even more difficult for Obama to get climate legislation through Congress in his final two years in office.

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., received $1,685,107 from carbon-polluting interests from Jan. 1, 2008Dec. 31, 2013, more than any other member of the Senate. McConnell is expected to become the Majority Leader if Republicans win control of the Senate in the next session.
  • Senate Republicans received, on average, 2.4 times more money from carbon-polluting interests than the average received by Senate Democrats from Jan. 1, 2008Dec. 31, 2013.
  • In total, Senate Republicans received $22.2 million from carbon-polluting interests from Jan. 1, 2008Dec. 31, 2013.

Methodology: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions to members of the Senate from top carbon-emitting interests from Jan. 1, 2008Dec. 31, 2013. Contributions data source: OpenSecrets.org

Industry contribution data included in the study: Gas & Electric Utilities, Independent oil & gas producers, Petroleum refining & marketing, Chemicals, Major (multinational) oil & gas producers, Coal mining, Trucking companies & services, Oil & Gas, Livestock, Natural Gas transmission & distribution, Oilfield service, equipment & exploration, Forestry & Forest products, Airlines, Steel 

Image credit: 350.org/Flickr

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