Statement of Elliot Diringer
Executive Vice President
Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
December 8, 2012
The Doha deal is unfortunately the best we can hope for at this stage. This is the first year of a four-year negotiation, and what was most important was moving the process forward. This agreement does that.
The countries most vulnerable to the rising toll of climate change understandably pushed hard for more. But it was clear coming into Doha that the major economies were not ready to commit to stronger emission cuts and there would be little new money on the table. We can’t expect strong new commitments until 2015, the deadline the parties have set for a comprehensive new deal.
Keeping Kyoto alive for now was essential politically but is merely a bridge to a more balanced agreement in 2015. The fact that it was so hard to achieve even Doha’s modest steps underscores how tough it will be to deliver a truly meaningful accord in three years. It’s also a reminder that we can hardly rely on the UN process alone to mobilize strong global action. We need to ramp up efforts in other multilateral forums too and, most especially, at the domestic level. International agreements work only if countries have the domestic policies needed to deliver on them. Putting those policies in place remains the highest priority.
It’s disappointing the United States was not in a position in Doha to credibly claim that it’s on track to meeting President Obama’s emissions pledge. An ambitious and durable deal in 2012 will be possible only with stronger U.S. engagement. The administration should move forward right away with sensible rules to cut power plant emissions. And Congress should seriously consider a carbon tax as part of a broader solution to the country’s mounting fiscal challenges.
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The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent nonprofit, nonpartisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change. Launched in November 2011, C2ES is the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Learn more at www.c2es.org.