Todd Stern, debunking myths

Press briefing by Todd Stern – Special Envoy for Climate Change and Head of the United States Delegation

Comments on the US mitigation commitment:

Reduction proposal submitted around 17% below 2005 levels in 2020, with upgrades to 30% below 2005 in 2025 and 42% by 2030.

–> there is considerable frustration that the US hasn’t been using 1990 levels as a benchmark, but consider that 30% in 2025 and 42% in 2030 are equivalent to 18% and 30%, respectfully, for 1990.

Stern responds to criticism that the US has been outdone by the EU in these commitments: EU 20% reduction against 1990 levels is equivalent to 13% against 2005, so less than what the US is putting down.

Also, a good question from member of press: Q: “China has pledged to reduce its carbon intensity.  The US has said that it wants all pledges to be verifiable.  Carbon intensity has two components.  There’s the carbon emissions – that seems reasonably straightforward, you can count the coal plants.  But if you want to measure GDP, how do you do an external audit that people believe of a country’s GDP?

A: … “that nicely encapsulates the reason why we think that there ought to be some measure of international consultation or review or dialogue or whatever the term is, with respect to any transparency report that a country puts in, whether it’s China or anybody else, so that quesitons can be asked.  And, how – in the US can you audit?  that’s kind of outside my particular range of expertise.  But it’s a question that I think underscores the need to be able to ask questions, understand assumptions behind numbers and things like that.

–> anyone else have an answer to this?

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