US defends plan for countries to set their own climate goals

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USA: A global deal on greenhouse gas reductions can be effective even if countries are allowed to set their own targets, the US special envoy for climate change Todd Stern has said. “It is very hard for us to imagine a negotiation with dozens and dozens and dozens of counties actually negotiating everybody else’s targets and timetables,” said Stern from the sidelines of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin.

The main criticism levelled at such a system is that nations would be able to set the bar low.

“Countries, knowing that they will be subject to the scrutiny of everybody else, will be urged to put something down they feel they can defend and that they feel is strong,” said Stern adding that strong public interest would add to that pressure. (Reuters)

US climate change envoy Todd Stern says nations should set their own targets for the new UN global deal (Source: Flickr/IISD)

G8/Biofuels: Politicians and NGOs are ramping up pressure on the G8 to review their biofuels policies. Both the EU and the USA are big supporters but a group of UK MPs and a coalition of major development and environment charities are calling for mandatory biofuel targets to be reconsidered. They say the targets encourage farmers to grow energy crops rather than staple foods. (EurActiv)

Europe: The amount of solar energy installed in Europe fell sharply in 2012 according to an industry report. The figure fell from 22.4GW to 17GW in a year. India, Japan, USA and China are expected to lead the growth of installs in the future, according to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association. (Financial Times, subscription required)

USA: The US Army has signed deals with five geothermal energy companies to guarantee them a buyer for their electricity. Money from the Army’s $7bn renewable energy fund will be used to purchase the power. The companies will own the installations and will fund them from private sources. (EarthTechling)

Vietnam: The Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS) research program, part of the CGIAR agricultural research partnership, has announced it is establishing a new hub in Vietnam. The country is the world’s second largest rice exporter and plays an important role in global food supply. “Vietnam is the country most vulnerable to climate change in Southeast Asia,” said Dr Robert Zeigler, director general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), one of the participating organisations. (CGIAR)

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