Resolution Against US Participation in International Agreement in Copenhagen Exposed

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The Resolution Against US Participation in International Agreement in Copenhagen was passed by ALEC's International Relations Task Force on December 4, 2009, and approved by an emergency vote of the ALEC Board of Directors in December 10, 2009. ALEC has attempted to distance itself from this piece of legislation after the launch of in 2011, but it has done nothing to get it repealed in the states where it previously pushed for it to be made into law.

CMD's Resolution Summary

ALEC issued the report "Global Warming and the Kyoto Protocol: Paper Tiger, Economic Dragon" in 2002, penned by the Cato Institute's Patrick Michaels, a climate change skeptic, and has since issued such reports as the 2007 "Kyoto Spawn: The Progeny of the Kyoto Protocol" and "April in Paris: Recent UN Climate Report is No Cause for Concern," both by Daniel R. Simmons, ALEC's in-house Natural Resources Task Force Director at the time. According to the Progressive States Network, ALEC used studies such as these "to easily deflect progress on state-level emissions bills in more conservative states. . . .When Maine in 2003 became the first state to make a legislative commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ALEC responded in 2005 by helping push through legislation it helped draft to limit any global warming regulations to those deemed 'cost-effective' and requiring that special 'economic impact' statements be drawn up before any new global warming legislation could be passed, a law that the Natural Resources Defense Council called a “double standard” to hamper its legislative efforts. . . .And when all else fails at the state level, ALEC can use its position as a 'representative' of state interests to advocate for the federal government shutting down rogue progressive state policy. Earlier Congresses have legally preempted state action on auto fuel efficiency and many energy standards, and ALEC has been supporting new federal laws to preempt state global warming laws.[1]"

ALEC released a whole host of model legislation in 2007 leading up to this resolution in anticipation of the UN conference at Copenhagen. See ALEC's 2007 report, "Energy, Environment, and Economics” for a list. Earlier efforts to push through legislation at the state level in response to Kyoto resulted in six states-- Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wyoming— passing laws against any mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, according to the New York Times[2] More recently, in 2011 ALEC brags that 30 states have introduced, and 15 states have adopted, legislation based on its pending "Resolution Opposing EPA's Regulatory Train Wreck.”[3]

ALEC Bill Text

Whereas, The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) promotes the Jeffersonian principles essential to good government, in particular peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none; and

Whereas, ALEC affirms the Separation of Powers Article in the Constitution of the United States, in particular the check upon the power of the Presidency that is given effect in the Senate’s powers over treaties; and

Whereas, at the imminent Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at Copenhagen, our President may subjugate the sovereign Constitution of the United States to an entangling alliance with the Convention’s participants in the name of saving the planet from the uncertain threat of global warming at the great cost and burden of the American people; and

Whereas, ALEC has long maintained that the national debate on greenhouse gas emissions should be contemplated and resolved in Congress; and

Whereas, the Congress is currently contemplating the question of a national scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and

Whereas, multiple studies from a spectrum of parties have demonstrated that efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be costly to the American people in jobs, electricity prices, gas prices, and government tribute; and

Whereas, the United States is in the midst of high unemployment, financial and housing downturns and alarming government deficits at the federal and state level; and

Whereas, international agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have historically omitted the meaningful participation of key nations rendering participating nations’ sacrifices ineffective in meaningfully altering global concentrations of greenhouse gases; and

Whereas, key nations, namely China and India, continue to demonstrate a commitment to economic growth ahead of concerns of climate change and have given every indication that future opportunities to join international agreements on the subject will not include their meaningful participation in emissions reductions; and

Whereas, ALEC recognizes that climate change is a historical phenomenon and the debate will continue on the significance and implications of natural and anthropogenic contributions; and

Whereas, the recent revelation of emails penned by scientists at the East Anglia Climate Research Unit, which is one of four official sources for global temperature data used by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), call into serious question both the data and the scientific methods used to formulate theories contending that global warming is occurring and that it is anthropogenic in nature; and

Whereas, all these facts give serious pause to a national commitment to sacrifice economic growth, jobs and global competitiveness for an uncertain cause and an unattainable goal;

Therefore be it resolved that the United States shall not enter into any treaty at or arising from the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference at Copenhagen, and that, in particular, the Administration shall take no steps whatsoever to evade or circumvent the stipulation in the Constitution that the Senate alone shall decide treaties.


  1. Progressive States Network, "Governing the Nation from the Statehouses: The Rightwing Agenda in the States and How Progressives Can Fight Back," February 2006, pp. 9-10.
  2. Jennifer Lee, “The Warming Is Global but the Legislating, in the U.S., Is All Local,” New York Times, October 9, 2003.
  3. ALEC, “Resolution Opposing EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck,” accessed June 11, 2015.