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Study Says US will Not Meet Carbon Cutting Pledge

Study Says US will Not Meet Carbon Cutting Pledge


Countries from all over the world are currently meeting in Doha, the capital city of oil-rich Qatar, to develop a treaty to reduce the progression of global warming.  The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has already indicted drastic and immediate changes are needed in developed and developing countries to meet 2020 emissions goals. 

The current Kyoto protocol, the only international emissions treaty, received pledges from developed countries around the world to dramatically reduce emissions by 2015 in order to meet 2020 goals.

Members of countries’ negotiating teams, especially those of the United States, were mostly optimistic about steps being taken for 2020 goals, but a recent study states developing countries like the United States and Canada will unlikely meet their pledges. 

The results of the study were published by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (NEAA). 

According to the study, climate policies in the United States currently fail to reduce emissions reductions pledged to the UNFCCC—which is 17 percent below 2005 emissions levels by 2020. 

The US emission projections are lower than estimates in the past because the economic crisis and development in the energy sector.  Energy demand is shifting from coal to natural gas and helping to heat homes more than electricity generated from coal.  The recession has reduced consuming and ultimately emissions from consumption, but the United States still fails to meet 2020 pledges because it continues to build inefficient cars and coal-fired power stations.  

With current trends and policies, emissions will range from 6.3 to 6.5 gigatons (not including forestry emissions).  The United States has pledged 6.0 Gt or less by 2020. 

Furthermore, the study predicts that the “New Performance Standard” will have no effect on emissions in the future.  The Standard regulates emission levels at new power plants.  The study sites an impact analysis by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

The same goes for Canada.  The NEAA predicts Canada’s current climate policies will not meet pledges by 2020.  Canada has pledged an emissions target of 610 Megatons by 2020, but current estimates show the emissions ranging from 730 to 780 Mt (excluding forestry emissions). 

NEAA argues that the most important environmental policies in Canada are the standards set for small vehicles and coal-fire power generating plants.  However, Canada is unlikely to meet 2020 levels because existing power plants are allowed to operate for 50 more years under the new standards. 

Source: Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency