Climate Deal in the Works?
December 3, 2012
As leaders in Washington obsess about the fiscal cliff, President Barack Obama is putting in place the building blocks for a climate treaty requiring the first fossil- fuel emissions cuts from both the U.S. and China.
State Department envoy Todd Stern is in Doha this week working to clear the path for an international agreement by 2015. While Obama failed to deliver on his promise to start a cap-and-trade program in his first term, he’s working on policies that may help cut greenhouse gases 17 percent by 2020 in the U.S., historically the world’s biggest polluter.
“We are making good progress, and I think we are on track,” Stern told reporters today in Doha when asked if the U.S. can meet its goal even if Congress doesn’t pass climate legislation this decade.
Obama has moved forward with greenhouse-gas rules for vehicles and new power plants, appliance standards and investment in low-emitting energy sources. He’s also doubled use of renewable power and has called for 80 percent of U.S. electricity to come from “clean” energy sources, including nuclear and natural gas, by 2035.
“The president is laying the foundations for real action on climate change,” Jake Schmidt, who follows international climate policy for the Washington-based Natural Resources Defense Council, said in an interview in Doha. “Whether or not he decides to jump feet first into the international arena, we’ll see.”