Australia Responds As Obama Bypasses Congress On Emissions Regulation

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The United States’ new framework to tackle climate change has met with a mixed response from Australia’s environmental think tank.

The Climate Institute has highlighted “some important strengths and some limitations” among President Barack Obama’s sweeping rollout of regulations, which he bypassed Congress sceptics to announce on Tuesday.

“Obama’s climate adaption plans contrast Australia’s which have been, to date, limited and piecemeal,” Institute CEO John Connor said in a statement.

“Like the US, Australia needs to prepare for the unavoidable impacts of climate change.”

President Obama cited a “moral obligation” as he announced plans to tackle the challenge of climate change by embracing renewable energy forms like wind and solar, while presenting tough new rules to curb carbon emissions by cracking down on the world’s coal-fired power plants.

The US has previously committed to a 17 per cent reduction in its 2005 greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

“In the face of opposition of congress to a price and limit on pollution, the president has been forced to implement direct regulatory interventions and numerous processes to achieve the USA’s 2020 emission target,” Mr Connor said.

“This has resulted in a raft of interventions as opposed to a more streamlined and economically-efficient carbon limit and price.”

Mr Connor warned that President Obama’s direct regulatory action may not prove sustainable as a long-term combatant.

“To achieve the deeper emissions reduction targets needed beyond (2020) the US, like Australia, will need stronger laws that price and limit carbon pollution,” he said.

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