A little recession does wonders for reducing emissions... photo: Jussi You-S-See via flickr.
Here's one more reason why the final US climate bill really ought to be significantly strengthened: Climate Progress has done a bit of number-crunching of the EIA's Short Term Energy Outlook and finds that as it stands now, by the end of 2009 the US will already be halfway towards the emission reductions stipulated in ACES:The EIA projections say that by the end of 2009, United States' emissions will fall 6%, due to "weak economic conditions and declines in the consumption of most fossil fuels." In other words, through no purposeful action towards creating a greener economy at all, but still good news. What's more, in 2010, as the economy is expected to strengthen the EIA predicts a 0.9% increase in emissions over this year.
That means that by the end of 2009, the US will be 8.5% below 2005 levels for CO2 emissions -- remember that ACES wants a 17% reduction below 2005 levels.
Stronger Reduction Targets Top List of Recommendations
Based on this analysis, Climate Progress has a laundry list of recommendations for how the climate bill can be strengthened: Reducing emissions allowances for "at least the first several years", redoing cost estimates of the bill based on the new data, revised projections of CO2 emissions through 2020 (or 2030), and increasing emission reduction targets -- 20% below 2005 levels is recommended.
I'll be the voice of more here: If we're already halfway to proposed 2020 levels, perhaps an even greater target than 20% below 2005 is in order.
Just to remind everyone: What most climate scientists recommend to ensure global average temperature rise is contained to less than 2°C are reductions (based on 1990 levels) in the range of 25-40% by 2020.
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