February 10, 2013

More ambitious policies needed to cut emissions

World Resources Institute warns more ambitious policies are needed to cut emissions 17 per cent by 2020 [WRI Report]

Summary

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are expected to rise unless additional policy actions are taken. This report identifies a suite of policies that the Administration can pursue that do not require new legislation by the U.S. Congress. If pursued with "go-getter" level ambition, those policies can reduce U.S. emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels in 2020.

Key Findings

  • Without new action by the U.S. Administration, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will increase over time. The United States will fail to make the deep emissions reductions needed in coming decades, and will not meet its international commitment to reduce GHG emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.
  • The U.S. EPA should immediately pursue emissions reductions from existing power plants and natural gas systems using its authority under the Clean Air Act. These two sectors represent two of the top opportunities for substantial GHG reductions between now and 2035.
  • The U.S. Administration should pursue hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) reductions through both the Montreal Protocol process and under its independent Clean Air Act authority. Eliminating HFCs represents the biggest opportunity for GHG emissions reductions behind power plants.
  • U.S. states should complement federal actions to reduce emissions through state energy efficiency, renewables, transportation, and other actions. States can augment federal reductions.
  • New federal legislation will eventually be needed, because even go-getter action by federal and state governments will probably fail to achieve the more than 80 percent GHG emissions reductions necessary to fend off the most deleterious impacts of climate change.
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