Climate Deal in the Works?

December 3, 2012

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Bloomberg Business Week:

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.”

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11 Responses to “Climate Deal in the Works?”


  1. [...] Bloomberg Business Week: 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…  [...]

  2. neilrieck Says:

    2013 is going to be an El Nino year for the USA which will result in even hotter temperatures resulting in more drought along with who knows what else. I am worried there will be a large loss of life (both human and animal) as well as property. The denier community will continue to attribute this to natural causes so it may take a few more years of calamity before American citizens are able to direct their politicians to ratify whatever might be signed at one of these conferences.

    In the meanwhile, some Germans in 1999 realized that enforcing emissions reductions agreements would be almost as impossible as enforcing illicit drug agreements which is why they decided to attack the problem from the other end by introducing FIT (feed in tariff).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feed-in_tariffs_in_Germany

    Why should this work? The little guy can actually make money installing equipment to generate energy from non-fossil sources. Imagine the efficiencies if North America replaced all coal-burning generators with a combination of wind turbines and natural gas.

    Just my two cents worth.

    • sailrick Says:

      from a previous Climate Crocks article

      Germany’s Renewable Ownership Society – the Green Middle Class

      “Want to know why Fox News and the Tea Party congress hates green energy? The most important reason is that renewable energy properly deployed is profoundly democratizing, devolves power and control away from the Exxon-Mobils and Koch Brothers of the world, and into the hands of states, counties, cities, communities, local businesses, and individuals.”

      “For the most part, Germany’s new energy producers are home owners, small and medium-sized businesses, and farmers, many of the latter who faced ruin only a decade ago. At the heart of Germany’s alternative energy bonanza is the country’s reputed Mittelstand: the nation’s well-situated, educated, conservative, entrepreneurial-minded middle class, which is the backbone of its economy.”

      http://climatecrocks.com/2012/10/16/germanys-renewable-ownership-society-the-green-middle-class/

    • jpgreenword Says:

      And if I may add my two cents…

      The more I learn about climate change and the different ways that nations have addressed (or ignored) the problem, the more I believe that a Feed-in Tariff is the way to go. We still need energy, and tariffs seem like the best way to encourage the production of renewable energy.

      Having said that, considering how little time we have left to remove carbon from our economies, I think that a “fee-and-dividend” type of program should also be part of the solution.

    • MorinMoss Says:

      I thought we were ENSO-neutral this time around; have conditions changed?

  3. jimbills Says:

    Anyone else think the photo above looks like Da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’?

  4. Ron Mayer Says:

    Getting it through Congress is another thing. You think the Republicans are nasty on the Austerity Bomb wait till you hear the rant on the Environmental Bomb: They’ve proven often enough to convince me that you don’t need to understand something you don’t believe in.

  5. MorinMoss Says:

    Any deal that doesn’t bind China and the US to significant and meaningful targets is a waste of time.


  6. [...] 2012/12/03: PSinclair: Climate Deal in the Works? [...]

  7. daryan12 Says:

    The so-called “damage aid” clause inserted could be significant, as it will tie polluters into paying the cost of future climate change and possibly leave them morally and legally obliged to take in future climate refugees.

    Of course as anyone who knows about the topic will tell you, the costs of switching to low carbon alternatives and cutting greenhouse gas emissions is vastly smaller than paying the cost of the resulting damage.

    It like the insurance company agreeing to insure you’re house and then burn it down.

    One critical detail, will this principle apply to the West alone? China and India, or indeed the middle east, are big polluters now and one could argue they have a liability here too.


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