There’s No Chance USA Signing Up To Climate Deal

  • Date: 30/11/12
  • Ed King, RTCC News

US climate change negotiator Jonathan Pershing says there is no chance of the USA signing up to a climate deal that requires the country to make substantial cuts in its emissions.

The Times of India has obtained a transcript from a closed meeting with NGOs Pershing attended in Doha on Wednesday evening, where he outlined the USA’s ‘red lines’ when it comes to negotiations on a 2015 climate treaty.

In particular he takes issue with proposals for atmospheric quantities of CO2 to be ‘equitably’ divided among the world’s states, arguing that it would leave the US having to commit economic suicide.

“It’s a vision you can say that the atmosphere can take an X quantity of coal emissions and therefore what you do is you divide that number into percentage,” he said.

“The obligation it states is that you (the US) would have to reduce its emissions down to negative 37% (below 1990 levels).

“And the obligation of China will be a tiny bit, but India can still grow quite a lot. The politics of that quite frankly really don’t work. I can’t really sell that to the US Congress.

“One way to think about it is what you could deliver. You say what you are going to do and you will be held to that. So how do you marry the reality of what you are doing with the reality of what is needed. To me, it’s going to be a hybrid. It’s going to be something between those two.

“If we can’t take it home and sell it at home, in whatever political economy we are living in, we won’t do it.”

While the comments come as little surprise to observers who have followed the USA for many years, they do emphasise the challenge that negotiators will face as they dig into the detail of a 2015 binding agreement.

US President Barack Obama has already said he will only take actions that will boost US jobs: “if the message is somehow we’re going to ignore jobs and growth simply to address climate change, I don’t think anybody’s going to go for that. I won’t go for that,” he said.

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