By Suzanne Goldenberg, December 6, 2012. Source: The Guardian
The Obama administration has been vigorously defending its climate record at the Doha conference in Qatar. But it appears that Todd Stern, the US state department climate envoy, has been rather selective with his facts.
In his sole press conference at the meeting, Stern told reporters the US was on track to meet its commitment on cutting emissions by 2020, citing a report by the Resources for the Future thinktank.
The report said that incoming Environmental Protection Agency regulations on coal-fired power plants, along with other measures, could lead to a 16.3% cut in emissions by 2020.
“The US has done quite significant things in the president’s first four years, in his first term,” Stern said. “I saw just the other day actually a report by Resources for the Future which is a quite good kind of environmental economic thinktank in Washington that projects us to be on track for about a 16.5% reduction based on the policies that we have in place now.”
That figure is not far off Barack Obama’s admittedly modest target of 17% cut on emissions from 2005 levels, which he offered to the UN climate meeting at Copenhagen in 2009. The problem was, however, that Stern overlooked official US government reports indicating the US would be nowhere near a 16% cut by 2020. He also overlooked several different cautions included in the RFF report (pdf).