US negotiator Todd Stern has hit back at critics of the country’s climate ambition, citing the country’s ‘gas revolution’ and investment in energy efficiency as proof Barack Obama’s administration is committed to addressing the issue.
US emissions from domestic energy have declined by 8.6% since a peak in 2005, the equivalent of 1.4% per year – some of this drop can be attributed to shale gas discoveries.
Stern said a Resources for the Future report found that the US was on track to meet its 17% targeted emission cuts by 2020, quoting a projected figure of 16.5% by 2020 under current policies, although RTCC understands the report only includes CO2, none of the other greenhouse gases.
US emissions account for around 16% of the global total, second behind China which is responsible for almost a third of the planet’s current output.
Stern wants to see China and other major emitters agree to a global deal before the US signs up, and argues that even without a binding commitment it is developing its low-carbon sector.
“There is a revolution going on in the US right now in respect to natural gas so a great deal of switching already taking place from coal to natural gas,” he said. “[Also] big steps with respect to all forms of appliance standards in buildings,” he said.