Citizen Action Monitor

Obama’s misleading plan cuts carbon emissions by less than half needed to avoid catastrophic warming

Obama’s 2025 target for carbon cuts of 26-28 percent are based on “deceptive accounting” to hide weak reductions

Obama’s cuts would amount to just 14-16 percent had the international standard base year of 1990 been used

No 1296 Posted by fw, April 1, 2015

“Using the international standard base year of 1990, the [US] target translates to reductions of just 14 to 16 percent by 2025. But the U.S. and other developed countries must cut pollution by at least 25 percent to 55 percent below 1990 levels by 2025 to do their fair share in helping to avoid a climate catastrophe, according to calculations by a team of climate scientists tracking international negotiations.”Center for Biological Diversity

In a March 31 press release, the Center for Biological Diversity, Kevin Bundy said: “President Obama has a moral duty to pursue a global agreement that keeps most oil, coal and gas in the ground and helps developing nations leapfrog into clean-energy economies.” Clearly, his plan fails the moral test as well as an emissions’ target test.

To read the original press release, click on the following linked title. Or read the cross-post below. And at the bottom of this post watch an interview with the Director of the Climate Policy Program as she lays out in detail the several ways Obama’s plan falls far short of necessary emission reduction targets.

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Obama Administration Announces Weak Carbon Pollution Cuts Ahead of Paris Climate Talks by Center for Biological Diversity, March 31, 2015

WASHINGTON— The target for carbon pollution cuts announced today by the Obama administration uses deceptive accounting to disguise weak reductions that won’t prevent catastrophic warming. U.S. negotiators will take this climate plan to December’s United Nations climate talks in Paris.

The starting gun in the race against global warming went off a long time ago, but the United States is still just jogging,” said Kevin Bundy of the Center for Biological Diversity. “We need a stronger strategy. Global efforts to prevent catastrophic climate change depend on the United States making much more ambitious cuts to planet-warming pollution.”

Under the Obama plan, the United States would still be emitting at least 5 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution a year by 2025, according to Center calculations based on the EPA’s most recent emissions inventory. By way of comparison, the entire continent of Africa emitted just over 3 billion tons in 2011.

The proposed U.S. target ostensibly would cut greenhouse pollution economy-wide by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 emissions levels by 2025. But the Obama administration calculated reductions from a “base year” of 2005, when emissions were even higher than they are now. That masks the stark inadequacy of the U.S. effort.

Using the international standard base year of 1990, the target translates to reductions of just 14 to 16 percent by 2025. But the U.S. and other developed countries must cut pollution by at least 25 percent to 55 percent below 1990 levels by 2025 to do their fair share in helping to avoid a climate catastrophe, according to calculations by a team of climate scientists tracking international negotiations.

Each nation attending the Paris talks is required to propose a reduction target — or “intended nationally determined contribution” — representing “fair and ambitious” steps beyond those already underway. The U.N. climate framework also requires developed countries like the U.S. to shoulder a greater burden based on their historic contributions to the problem and their capacity to make changes.

Earth suffered the hottest year in recorded history in 2014. Rising temperatures are already contributing to a growing risk of drought and other dangerous forms of extreme weather. A recent U.N. report warned that global warming will cause food shortages, flooding of island nations and coastal cities, and mass wildlife extinctions.

A recent Nature study found that about a third of the planet’s oil, half of all natural gas reserves and more than 80 percent of the world’s coal must remain in the ground by mid-century to avoid dangerous global warming.

That’s why the Center has called on the Obama administration to support an agreement in Paris that eliminates developed country fossil fuel use by 2050 and offers aggressive financial and technological support for clean-energy development in developing countries.

“We can’t keep relying on dirty fossil fuels and hope to preserve a livable climate,” Bundy said. “President Obama has a moral duty to pursue a global agreement that keeps most oil, coal and gas in the ground and helps developing nations leapfrog into clean-energy economies.”

SEE ALSO

  • Chorus of Outrage as Obama Administration Approves Arctic Drilling for Shell Oil by Nadia Prupis, Common Dreams, April 1, 2015 – “Environmental activists expressed shock and outrage on Tuesday after the U.S. Department of the Interior upheld a 2008 lease sale on the Arctic’s Chuchki Sea, opening the door for continued oil exploration in a region long eyed for drilling by Shell Corporation and increasingly strained under the effects of climate change.Click on linked title to read more…
  • Why Obama’s Climate Change Proposal Falls Short by The Real News, April 1, 2015 — Interview with Janet Redman, Director of the Climate Policy Program at the Institute for Policy Studies. Redman details the several ways the Obama administration emission targets are insufficient to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. Watch the embedded 9:18-minute interview here. To access the full transcript click on the linked title.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8mrjsaL-8E

 

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This entry was posted on April 1, 2015 by in climate change, evidence based counterpower and tagged .
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