White House says US can still meet climate goals

White House says US can still meet climate goals


The administration of President Barack Obama has promised that it would be able to uphold United States commitments to an international climate change agreement, as a court ruling heightened concerns about the stability of the global carbon reduction pact reached last year.

Shares of coal companies reflected the uncertainty the day after the US Supreme Court ruling.

US-coal_fired_power_plantReuters Newsagency reports after jumping nearly seven per cent early in the session, the Thomson Reuters US coal index was down three per cent in afternoon trading.

The court dealt a serious blow to President Obama’s climate change agenda when it took the unusual step to delay implementation of the Clean Power Plan until legal challenges to the regulation are completed.

US-Coal-plant-emissionsA centre piece of the President Obama’s climate change policy, the Clean Power Plan was designed to lower carbon emissions from US power plants by 2030 to 32 per cent below 2005 levels.

The decision to temporarily block the rule came after the United States entered into a landmark agreement with countries around the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in December at a United Nations sponsored climate summit in Paris.

While the Clean Power Plan was expected to be the main tool for the United States to fulfill its part of the pact, White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters in a briefing that it was only one part of the nation’s response to climate change.

Eric-Schultz-White-House-spokesmanThe long-term extension of the tax credits for renewable energy last year will continue to provide momentum that will transition the power sector toward cleaner sources of energy, Mr Schultz said.

“The inclusion of those tax credits is going to have more impact over the short term than the Clean Power Plan,” he said.

“The Clean Power Plan is one way to get there, but it’s not the only way,” Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg Newsagency.

Laurent-Fabius-France-FM-president-COP21-Paris-UNBloomberg reports environmentalists says President Obama can cement his climate legacy and fulfill commitments the US made in Paris by using other tools to put the nation on a trajectory that even a a Republican-led Congress cannot shift.

Reuters reports French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll quoted outgoing Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius as saying after a cabinet meeting that the decision was “not good news,” even if the debate will continue in the United States.

Claudia Salerno, a Venezuelan diplomat who leads the country’s delegation at UN climate talks, described the ruling as “truly damaging” to the outcome of the pact.