Indian columnist: Obama climate plan ‘hollow’, little more than clean energy imperialism

Arun Mohan Sukumar writes in the Hindu:

The Obama administration has shifted from its original, unconditional stand of technology transfer to one based on “innovation” and “investment” in clean energy to favour western companies…

Mr. Obama’s line has its genesis in the United States’s promise, made right before the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, to reduce carbon emissions to 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020, 42 per cent by 2030 and 83 per cent by 2050. Despite talk of elevating climate change to a “legacy” issue for the President, the last two timelines have been conveniently omitted. His commitment to reaffirm the 2020 deadline is a hollow one — by most estimates, an emissions reduction of 17 per cent from 2005 levels is equivalent to a 4-6 per cent reduction from levels that persisted in 1990. On the other hand, the Kyoto Protocol, which the U.S. has not ratified, requires industrialised countries to reduce, by 2020, their greenhouse gas emissions by 18 per cent below 1990 levels. Here’s the catch: U.S. emissions had already neared 1990 levels last year, thanks to the country’s ongoing shale gas revolution. Put two and two together, what President Obama promised this week is merely a 6 per cent reduction in U.S. emissions from current levels.

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