Obama announces climate protection measures
US President Barack Obama has announced plans for US power stations to cut their emissions by 2030 by roughly one third on 2005 figures. Obama's revolutionary initiative is giving the upcoming climate conference in Paris a boost, some commentators write. Others fear that the project could cost thousands of jobs.
Climate protection not at any cost
Obama's plan will cost too many jobs in the coal industry and simply shift the problem of harmful emissions to other parts of the world, critcises the conservative Daily Telegraph: "Avoiding the depletion of the world's finite carbon resources and reducing pollution are praiseworthy ambitions, though not at any price. A plan costing hundreds of thousands of jobs (and the coal industry is still huge in parts of America) without being balanced by the employment potential of renewable energy should be a non-starter. The ready exploitation of shale gas in America has already undercut the price of coal, much of which is being dumped on the world market and being burned elsewhere. This won't save the planet even if it helps meet the US carbon emissions target."
Climate plan could fail for lack of time
Obama simply won't have the time to push through his ambitious climate plan, the liberal daily Le Temps concludes: "Now that Obama's presidency is coming to an end he can afford to provoke his opponents more. This goes for his efforts to impose limits on greenhouse gases as well as the talks with Iran and Cuba. But his most recent initiative has a major flaw: he faces a tough battle against his Republican opponents because they have already said they will wage guerrilla war against his project in the courts. And the president now lacks one of the most vital ingredients for success: time. If his camp loses the next race for the White House his crusade will end up being nothing but a show."
Obama's CO2 plans are a revolution
Obama's plans could be a breakthrough for global climate protection, believes the Christian daily Trouw: "His promise to reduce CO2 emissions by 32 percent within 15 years is ambitious. If Obama pulls this off, it might not put the US in the lead but at the very least it would put it on a par with Europe in one fell swoop. ... Politically speaking, for the US to catch up is a revolution. ... The most important thing here is what this means for the global climate debate. It was because the US categorically refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol that many other countries could remain passive. Perhaps internationally the goals will at last be more ambitious now. Obama's plan is well thought out and its contents look far more promising than China's vague promises."
Tailwind for Paris climate conference
President Barack Obama's initiative is lending new importance to the international Climate Change Conference in Paris, writes the centre-left daily La Repubblica delightedly: "Like (almost) all presidents in their second term of office Obama is concerned with his political legacy. In the first four years he gave the US a healthcare reform that had seemed virtually impossible. … Now he wants to make climate protection his second legacy, and that alone sends a strong political message. With his national fight against climate change Obama is undoubtedly making global climate protection his cause, and with it the Paris conference. The choice of words in Obama's announcement also highlights his determination to adopt a leading role in global climate initiatives. Obama's own historical success or failure will depend on the success of the Paris conference. This is an unforeseen development."