US President Barack Obama again defends Paris climate deal

US President Barack Obama as he points to the audience as he arrives to deliver a speech at Knox College in Illinois during his first term in office.
US President Barack Obama as he points to the audience as he arrives to deliver a speech at Knox College in Illinois during his first term in office.PHOTO: EPA

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Outgoing US President Barack Obama launched a fresh defence of emissions curbs against incoming President-Elect Donald Trump's plans to scrap a global climate deal, saying the accord was in America's interest on Monday (Jan 10, 2017).

Writing in the journal "Science" Obama said that the United States was proving that reducing greenhouse gases can help economic growth.

Reforms can "can boost efficiency, productivity, and innovation", he said.

Obama's eight years in office have resulted in a tidal wave of new environmental legislation, protecting marine ecosystems, curbing carbon emissions and boosting renewable energy.

Obama rushed through ratification of the Paris Climate Accord in record time to make sure that it could not be shelved by the incoming administration.

But Obama's agenda is likely to come under sustained assault from the Trump administration.

Administration officials fear that while Trump cannot scrap the Paris deal, it could fatally undermine it.

Many of the US commitments to reduce carbon emissions are in the Clean Power Act, which Obama unveiled in 2015. The Act limits the amount of carbon pollution power plants can emit.

Sources familiar with Trump's transition planning say the new administration is weighing options like simply shutting down the government's legal defense of the act, or scrapping plans to appeal a Supreme Court ruling that froze portions of the programme.