Friday, May 29, 2015

Report: U.S. Can Make Good on Climate Pledge — Barely

The U.S. will need to expand the use of renewables in order to achieve its climate goals, according to the World Resources Institute. (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
When the U.S. arrives at the international climate negotiations in Paris at the end of the year, it will bring to the table its pledge to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions between 26 and 28 percent under 2005 levels over the next decade.

The World Resources Institute, or WRI, a global environmental sustainability think tank, released a report Wednesday showing how the U.S. can make good on its pledge and possibly exceed it.  Doing so, however, may involve strengthening controversial emissions cuts in the works, cuts that largely are expected to be watered down and challenged in court before taking effect, possibly later this year.

To achieve its Paris emissions pledge, the Obama administration is betting that its proposed Clean Power Plan, slated to be finalized this summer, will deliver carbon dioxide emissions cuts from existing coal-fired power plants as promised.  The White House also is relying on its Climate Action Plan to cut emissions and increase efficiency in other sectors of the economy.

Those plans alone will do just enough to make good on cutting emissions 26 percent, the report says, but reaching or exceeding 28 percent will likely involve strengthening the Clean Power Plan and cutting emissions in other areas not included in the Obama administration’s plans.

The U.S. also has the ability to slash its 2005 greenhouse gas emissions by more than half over the next 25 years, but only if Congress puts a price on carbon, the report says.

“There is a limit to what can be done with federal authority combined with state action,” WRI senior fellow Karl Hausker said.  “Serious people both on the left and right know that putting a price on carbon is part of a long-term solution.  Carbon prices reduce emissions.  It’s also compatible for economic growth.”

Read more at Report: U.S. Can Make Good on Climate Pledge — Barely

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