Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Way Forward on US Emissions Reductions

On February 6, 2013, the World Resources Institute (WRI) released a report that examines ways of moving forward on climate action. The WRI report is titled, “Can the U.S. Get There From Here?” it explores strategies for reducing carbon pollution through a combination of existing federal laws and state action.

This new report indicates that with leadership from federal and state governments the US can cut its carbon emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

According to the report, to advance climate mitigation efforts we need to see the federal government act in four key areas:

1. Power: Rigorous federal carbon pollution standards for power plants and cleaner electricity.
2. Hydrofluorocarbons: Eliminating use and emissions of hydrofluorocarbons.
3. Methane: Regulation that stops methane leaks in oil and gas extraction and transport processes.
4. Efficiency: Improving the energy efficiency of our economy.

States will also need to get involved though initiatives that cut emissions and investments that support the growth of clean energy and efficiency.

However, if we are to achieve the levels of carbon reduction recommended by climate scientists, the report indicates that existing laws are inadequate and new legislation will be required.

As we await new climate legislation the report recommends modernizing US energy infrastructure and developing clean energy.

The WRI report shows that with sufficient political will we can turn back the tide of climate change. While the report charts the way forward it highlights the importance of political and policy ambition as the keys to progress on climate action.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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