Confirmed: Obama Sets US Emissions Reductions Targets, Will Attend Copenhagen Talks

obama copenhagen photo

Photo via the Telegraph

News broke this morning that Obama will attend the COP15 climate talks in Copenhagen after all, boosting the hopes that a more effective climate agreement will be reached. Now, the White House has issued a statement that includes the United States' new carbon emissions reduction targets, along with more details. The announcement states that Obama is willing to commit to greenhouse gas reductions of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020--the level set in the energy reform bill that passed the House of Reps. This is still far less than nearly every other developed nation has pledged, but it represents a mammoth step for the US. Here are more of the details from the announcement issued by the White House:

The White House also announced that, in the context of an overall deal in Copenhagen that includes robust mitigation contributions from China and the other emerging economies, the President is prepared to put on the table a U.S. emissions reduction target in the range of 17% below 2005 levels in 2020 and ultimately in line with final U.S. energy and climate legislation. In light of the President's goal to reduce emissions 83% by 2050, the expected pathway set forth in this pending legislation would entail a 30% reduction below 2005 levels in 2025 and a 42% reduction below 2005 in 2030.
I think the thing to remember here is that this outline is notable for how reasonable and realistic it is--the early targets are far behind what the science says is necessary to best mitigate the effects of climate change, but the plan as outlined is both politically and economically feasible. The release continues:
This provisional target is in line with current legislation in both chambers of Congress and demonstrates a significant contribution to a problem that the U.S. has neglected for too long. With less than two weeks to go until the beginning of the Copenhagen conference, it is essential that the countries of the world, led by the major economies, do what it takes to produce a strong, operational agreement that will both launch us on a concerted effort to combat climate change and serve as a stepping stone to a legally binding treaty.

Read the full statement from the White House.

Via Climate Progress.

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