Hollande hails US climate plan ahead of Paris conference

2015-08-04 12:02
Francois Hollande. (AP)

Francois Hollande. (AP)

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Paris - French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday welcomed a US plan to cut carbon emissions as a "major contribution" to an upcoming global climate conference in Paris.

His US counterpart Barack Obama unveiled plans on Monday to force power plant owners to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change for the first time ever.

"This plan is a key step in the de-carbonisation of the US economy," Hollande said in a statement, hailing the "courage" of Obama in finalising the project.

"It is a major contribution to the success of the Paris conference on climate change."

Obama said power plant owners must cut carbon dioxide emissions by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030, a move already welcomed by the European Union but criticised by Republicans.

Paris will host the UN climate conference at the end of the year, where organisers hope to conclude an agreement capping global warming at 2°C over pre-industrial levels.

According to AP, Obama warned that climate change will threaten future generations if left unchecked.

Opponents

Touting the plan at a White House event on Monday, Obama said the unprecedented carbon dioxide limits are the "the single most important step" America has ever taken to fight climate change. He warned that because the problem is so large, if the world doesn't get it right quickly, it may become impossible to reverse, leaving populations unable to adapt.

Obama's move represented a challenge to the rest of the world to take serious action as a global summit to finalise a landmark climate change treaty approaches at the end of this year

"There is such a thing as being too late when it comes to climate change," Obama said.

The sweeping new regulations are also thrusting the divisive debate over climate change into the race for the White House, with candidates in both parties seeing an opportunity to capitalise.

To Democrats, rallying around global climate change is a way to energise liberal supporters and paint Republicans as out of touch with the majority of Americans.

To the Republicans, Obama's executive actions to curb greenhouse gas emissions are burdensome to business and block job creation, an argument targeting Americans' worries about the economy.

Broad support for the rules by Democratic candidates and universal opposition from Republicans puts the parties' eventual nominees on a general-election collision course.

Most of the changes Obama outlined would have to be implemented by the next president, if the rules survive court challenges.

Republicans gave little indication of what they would do differently to curb emissions from US power plants, if anything at all.

They cast the measure requiring states to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 32% by 2030 as unnecessary and costly White House overreach that will raise energy costs for Americans.

Opponents immediately announced they would sue the government to stop the rules from taking effect

The final version of Obama's plan imposes stricter carbon dioxide limits on states than was previously expected: a 32% cut by 2030, compared with 2005 levels, the White House said.

Obama's proposed version last year called only for a 30% cut.

-AFP, AP

Read more on:    francois hollande  |  barack obama  |  us  |  france  |  climate change

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