Despite intense hostility from Republican critics and legal block from Supreme Court, top US negotiator says White House is ‘sticking to its plan’
By Ed King
Lead US climate envoy Todd Stern has arrived in Europe on a charm offensive, days after the White House’s low carbon energy plan was delayed by the Supreme Court.
The veteran negotiator told lawmakers in Brussels the US would ratify the Paris climate pact this year, arguing it was “really premature to assume the Clean Power Plan will be struck down”.
Stern also dismissed fears a future Republican president would wreck the deal, despite fierce opposition from frontrunners Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
“Paris was seen as such a landmark, hard-fought, hard-won deal that, for us to turn around and say we will withdraw, that would give the country a kind of diplomatic black eye,” he told reporters.
— Miguel Arias Cañete (@MAC_europa) February 16, 2016
German MEP Mattias Groote told Climate Home Stern was “really positive” over US backing for the Paris deal, which will come into effect from 2020.
“He said the US would stick to the outcome of the COP conference, that it was completely independent of who would be the next president and that they will ratify it,” he said.
But gaps remain between the EU and US over how to tackle aviation emissions, Groote added, suggesting Brussels would unilaterally take action in 2017 unless there was more movement.
On Monday, the European Council agreed climate change should remain a “diplomatic priority”, although it did not indicate the bloc was considering tougher collective carbon reduction targets.