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Caps on greenhouse gas emissions should not be left to judges

Todd D. Stern, head of the delegation, gave a media briefing shortly after arriving in Copenhagen today, 9 December.   He reiterated recent commitments on greenhouse gas reductions, and asserted that legislation and regulation, rather than judicial intervention, is the way to address climate change.

Asked whether the possibility of judicial intervention following the appeal in Connecticut v American Electric Power represented a pressure on negotiators and legislators, Stern commented:

‘Our and the President’s absolute commitment and preference is to push forward with the kind of comprehensive energy and climate legislation that has made its way through the House and is pending in the Senate.  That is the way this issue ought to get handled, not by 100 judges in different parts of the country, half of them making  one decision and half of them making another on something that is of this nature’.

Stern also confirmed that the position remains that it will not sign an agreement based on the Kyoto Protocol, or ‘ Kyoto with another name’.

Expanding on the commitments to greenhouse gas reductions, Stern maintained that the base year would be 2005, but provided an indication of how those commitments would measure up against a 1990 base year – an 18% reduction from 1990 levels by 2020 and a 33% reduction by 2030.

The webcast of the briefing is at