* Obama detailed climate change agenda on Tuesday
* Pledged new rules to cut power plant emissions
* U.N.'s Figueres says effect of reforms must be measured
* Says countries on track for 2015 climate deal
By Daren Butler
ISTANBUL, June 27 President Barack Obama's new
pledges on curbing carbon emissions drew a cautious welcome from
the U.N. climate change chief on Thursday, but she said no
country was doing enough and proposed the White House appoint an
energy czar to coordinate reforms.
Obama revived his stalled climate change agenda on Tuesday,
promising new rules to cut carbon emissions from U.S. power
plants and moves to support renewable energy.
Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Climate Change
Secretariat, said countries were on track to agree in 2015 a
policy framework to curb greenhouse gas emissions and better
enable the poorest nations to adapt to climate change.
She said Obama's announcement was "very welcome" but that
countries needed to do more on the issue of climate change.
"Finally the United States is putting out a menu of very
concrete measures," she told Reuters at a meeting of climate
change activists in Istanbul.
"But I think the fact remains that compared to what the
science demands ... no country is doing enough," she said.
Obama has directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
to craft new emissions rules for thousands of power plants, the
bulk of which burn coal and which account for roughly a third of
the country's greenhouse gas emissions.
The plan was criticised by the coal industry, which would be
hit hard by carbon limits, and Republicans who accused the
president of advancing policies that harm the economy.
Environmentalists largely cheered the proposals and Figueres
recommended the appointment of an official to oversee the
changes in the United States, recently overtaken by China as the
world's biggest carbon polluter.
"I do think that an energy czar in the White House would be
extraordinarily helpful," she said. "There has to be someone at
a high level in the White House that can actually coordinate all
of this and ensure that it gets done."
It was also very important for the White House to develop
the capacity to measure the effects of the reforms, she said.
"There has to be one central place where this is going to be
quantified in order for the United States and the world to know
what effort the United States is putting in," she added.
The United Nations is attempting to resolve disputes between
rich and poor countries on sharing out the burden of curbing
greenhouse gas emissions as part of a new U.N. deal, a successor
to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
It hopes an agreement will be signed in 2015 and come into
force five years later.
"That is why it is very important over the next 18 months
that there is enough political space opened in every country so
that federal governments can actually take the decisions that
they need to take," Figueres said.
(Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Pravin Char)