Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Climate change: The US goes backwards

The big news this morning is that the US will announce a climate change target before Copenhagen. While the exact number is what they will be announcing, it is expected to be in line with the 17% - 20% reduction on 2005 emissions currently in legislation before the Senate.

Which sounds good - except that US net greenhouse gas emissions rose 20.2% between 1990 and 2005. So, at best, they're offering a return to 1990 emissions, when the IPCC is telling us that developed nations need to be cutting emissions by between 25% and 40% from 1990 levels.

But that's not the worst bit. Back in the 90's, the US signed (but did not ratify) the Kyoto Protocol. In doing so, they accepted a binding obligation to cut emissions from 1990 levels by 7%. So, the US is actually going backwards, offering less now than they did a decade ago. Still, "at least its something", right?