US Republicans Warn World That Obama’s UN Climate Pledge Could Be Undone

gameThe Obama administration’s plan for U.N. climate change talks encountered swift opposition after its release Tuesday, with Republican leaders warning other countries to “proceed with caution” in negotiations with Washington because any deal could be later undone. Republican critics say the administration lacks the political and legal backing to commit the United States to an international agreement. Some observers said that resistance to the administration’s climate policies leaves foreign governments questioning whether Obama’s commitments can last. –Valerie Volcovici, Reuters, 1 April 2015

President Barack Obama’s pledge to the United Nations Tuesday to sharply cut greenhouse-gas emissions relies on being able to rebuff legal and legislative challenges — and the continuing availability of cheap natural gas. It’s no slam dunk. The power plant rule faces its first court test next month, and the final rule, set to come out within the next six months, is likely to be litigated all the way to the Supreme Court, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said Monday. –Mark Drajem, Bloomberg, 1 April 2015

Russia said Tuesday it could cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by up to 30 per cent compared to 1990 levels, subject to conditions. Russia announced that “limiting anthropogenic greenhouse gases in Russia to 70-75% of 1990 levels by the year 2030 might be a long-term indicator.” But, it said, this was “subject to the maximum possible account” of including forests — deemed absorbers of carbon gases — in the reduction. Green groups argue that forests are a false way to meet an emissions target, and that “sinks” are usually invoked to avoid the cost of switching to cleaner energy resources or reducing real carbon pollution. —Times of India, 31 March 2015

The U.N. fund for confronting climate change is set to pay for the most polluting form of energy generation. In an antagonistic meeting in South Korea last week, the Green Climate Fund allocated money meant for anti-global warming purposes to coal-fired power plants — the greatest polluter of all forms of energy generation. —Telesur TV News, 29 March 2015

Despite mounting protests, Japan continues to finance the building of coal-fired power plants with money earmarked for fighting climate change, with two new projects underway in India and Bangladesh, The Associated Press has found. Tokyo argues that the projects are climate-friendly because the plants use technology that burns coal more efficiently, reducing their carbon emissions compared to older coal plants. Also, Japanese officials stress that developing countries need coal power to grow their economies and expand access to electricity. “Japan is of the view that the promotion of high-efficiency coal-fired power plants is one of the realistic, pragmatic and effective approaches to cope with the issue of climate change,” said Takako Ito, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry. —AAP, 30 March 2015

We have about ¬£600 million invested at the moment, and I don’t think our fund managers could say exactly how much was invested in fossil fuel. But it is there, we haven’t said that it shouldn’t be, so we have got money invested. And so, if we’re going to be calling on people to divest, people are bound to ask “Well, is that what the Guardian’s going to do?” –Alan Rusbridger, Guardian editor, 27 March 2015