Capitan America – US climate goals: a reckoning

The perception is that after peaking in 2005, US total greenhouse gas emissions have been reducing. Not true. Compared to 1990 levels, greenhouse gas emissions are up 6 per cent. 1990-2013, carbon dioxide emissions are up 7.4 per cent. Carbon-dioxide emissions comprise 82 per cent of all US greenhouse gas emissions. In the INDC the US has submitted to the climate secretariat, it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025. Just by using 2005 as its baseline year, the US has avoided cutting 500 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

On a 1990 baseline the US will reduce emissions by a mere 13-15 per cent by 2025. This is even lower than what it had pledged in 2010 in the Cancun climate meet. In percentage as well as absolute terms, the INDC of the US is far less ambitious than that of the EU-28. In its INDC, the US has said it will depend on land use, land use changes and forestry (LULUCF) to reduce emissions. By so doing, it has avoided cutting 250 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

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