Obama plan against global warming: It’s the demonstration that it is possible to act

Barack Obama has chosen renewable energy for his country. The US president launched its “Clean Power Plan“, a long-awaited project to fight against this “great threat” to the world. To fight against global warming, the tenant of the White House introduced a series of rules and regulations that impose such power plants to reduce by 32% their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions compared to 2005 levels. At the same time, the production of electricity through renewable energy will have to go to 28%. 

When asked by MetroNews Pierre Cannet, head of the Climate Program, Energy and Sustainable Infrastructure at WWF France, sees a very good eye these measures within six months of COP21, the big climate conference to be held in Paris. 

How do you welcome the measures taken under the “Clean Power Plan” by Barack Obama? 

CANNES PIERRE – This is a beautiful political signal that is done towards the COP21 but also far beyond. The plan shows that the emitters of carbon dioxide have the opportunity to engage in this fight, it is the demonstration that it is possible to act. The US president, imposing a 32% reduction in CO2 emissions from power plants, shows that it directly addresses the industry. 

Does it be enough?
No, these measures do not meet the scientific demand to maintain global warming to 2 degrees. But on this momentum, we must build something solid. China advance for two or three years in the country [in December 2014, Beijing has set a target of reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases, Ed]. There is a new model that is emerging globally. Countries realize that coal belongs to the past, both because it has health risks, uncertainties on economic performance, but also because renewables have interesting benefits. In 2014, this sector has created 7.7 million jobs worldwide.

Why the US, did they wait so long to abandon coal?
The US has large coal-term resources. US basements full of this fossil. Moreover, Barack Obama inherited this situation. Electricity generation is the fruit of political orientations decided over several decades.

Precisely, can we believe that the US president will speak to one year from the end of his term?
It took the American president two terms to impose these objectives, it would take much to unravel. There is a risk but it is a movement that began several years ago. Barack Obama has taken this decision on the basis of political intelligence through the US Agency for Environmental Protection. It is a meticulous choice because it avoids going through Congress. And despite powerful lobbies, particularly in the coal sector, climatic disasters in recent years (cyclone, drought …) make the Americans realize that we must act.

40% of the electricity produced from coal in the US, 1.5% in France, how to explain this situation?
Simply because France, like the United States for coal, has chosen another way there several years in promoting nuclear power. The law on energy transition shows that a new model opens. Now it would take concrete answers. How to increase the share of renewables in electricity production from 14% to 32%? But these issues are played at European level. The European Union believed lead the dance world in the fight against global warming. It becomes more and more timid. 28 would have to find a credible way forward.

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