Confused by Emission Reduction Pledges and Targets? New Converter Tool Sorts It Out

us emissions reductions image

US emissions with a 17% reduction from 2005 levels by 2020. Add three zeros onto the end of the numbers at left...

When I first saw this next one I really wish I had created this first: The folks over at Sandbag have launched a really handy carbon emissions target converter that let's you compare various nations' commitments against one another. Ignoring the fact that in the image that caption should probably be 'thousand tonnes of CO2 equivalent -- national figures for top emitters are in the billions of tonnes per year, not millions -- it's pretty useful:You see that the proposed target of 17% below 2005 levels currently on the table in the US Congress yields only 3.4% below 1990 levels. That would bring emissions down to just under 6 billion tons of CO2 equivalent per year, as the lead image shows. Over a million tons lower than 2000-2007 levels, but still not enough

US emissions 17% below 2005 image

Now if the US used the same 1990 baseline that scientists and pretty much every nation in the world uses when talking about emissions reduction targets, it would mean that emissions would fall by an additional billion tons per year

US emission 17% below 1990 image

And if the US committed to recommended reduction levels of 40% below 1990 it's actually a 48.5% cut from 2005 levels (since that seems to be stuck in the collective US political brain) and CO2 emissions would be 3.6 billion tons per year -- yielding average per capita emissions of roughly 11 tons per year by 2020.

US emissions 40% below 1990 image

Check it out: Sandbag Copenhagen target converter
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