U.S. could reduce gas emissions by up to 29% by 2020, report
Dec 8, 2009 - The Associated Press
COPENHAGEN - U.S. greenhouse gas emissions could be cut up to 29 percent by 2020
from 2005 levels if all gas-cutting measures contained in bills currently under
deliberation at Congress are implemented, a private-sector think tank report says.
The World Resources Institute, a Washington-based environmental think tank, put
forth the analysis in the report released in late October, titled Emission Reductions
Under Congress' Cap & Trade Proposals.
The 29 percent figure,
which is equivalent to 17 percent reductions from 1990 levels, is much more ambitious
than the 17 percent reduction target from 2005 levels the U.S. government unveiled
The report suggests that the United States can
be ready to set a larger target.
The bills currently under
deliberation at Congress are the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act and
the American Clean Energy and Security Act.
The bills, which
call for launching the so-called cap and trade mechanism, are intended to impose
an upper limit, or cap, on greenhouse gas emissions from business corporations
or organizations and encourage them to trade their emissions quotas, or credits.
The emissions caps in these bills achieve reductions of 17
and 14 percent respectively relative to 2005 levels in 2020, the report says,
adding that by 2050, both the bills achieve reductions of 72 percent relative
to 2005 levels.
Estimates of total U.S. emissions in 2012
under the emissions caps in both the bills "are approximately 300 million tons
higher than recent short-term projections of U.S. emissions for 2010 published
by the Energy Information Administration."
While the bills
contain similar complementary measures in addition to emissions caps, "they are
sometimes applied in different ways and in turn result in somewhat different relative
emission reductions," it says.
Specifically, the report says,
"When all complementary requirements are considered in addition to the caps, greenhouse
gas emissions would be reduced 29 and 28 percent relative to 2005 levels by 2020
and 73 and 75 percent relative to 2005 levels by 2050" for the two bills respectively.
When additional potential emission reductions are considered,
the bills could achieve up to 34 and 33 percent relative to 2005 levels by 2020
and up to 78 and 81 percent relative to 2005 levels by 2050 respectively, the
"The actual amount of reductions will depend
on the quantity and quality of international offsets used for compliance and the
effectiveness of supplemental reduction programs that do not explicitly contain
greenhouse gas reduction requirements," it says.