Don’t discard the Paris Agreement

Daily Editorial Board

Gov. Mark Dayton has announced that Minnesota will continue its push to enact a clean energy plan despite the Supreme Court’s decision to block the implementation of President Barack Obama’s national climate change prevention agenda.
 
 
As part of the Paris Agreement, Obama sought to enforce policies dedicated to cutting power plant carbon emissions by one-third by 2030. However, five justices on the Supreme Court have since voted to delay this plan’s implementation while an ongoing dispute over its constitutionality unfolds. 
 
 
Dayton, however, said states shouldn’t require federal pressure to enact environmental protection policies. 
 
 
We commend Dayton for recognizing the urgency of fighting climate change. Additionally, we would like to remind readers that even if experts declare the enforcement of Obama’s plan to be unconstitutional, this would not mean clean energy policies are unconstitutional, nor would it mean states are forbidden or discouraged from developing plans to reduce emissions — it would simply mean the federal government cannot require them to do so. 
 
 
At the same time, while we recognize the importance of judicial review to a healthy democratic system, we feel uncomfortable that a handful of unelected judges could imperil a climate change agreement made by representatives of almost 200 nations. 
 
 
Officials from China and India have expressed that should U.S. fail to abide by the terms of the accord, their countries will opt out as well. Considering the U.S., China and India are three of the world’s largest polluters, this could have disastrous consequences for the Paris Agreement as a whole.