By Seth Borenstein, Associated Press
The U.S. pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in 2025 by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels. But taking into account current efforts by state and local governments, the nation will only reach about four-fifths of that goal, according to a study in Monday’s Nature Climate Change.
Looking at all types of greenhouse gases from energy and other sources— carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and various fluorocarbons — two scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab figure the U.S. will have to cut about 1,660 million tons of annual emissions. But current, proposed and even less concrete policies would only reduce about 1,330 million tons, leaving a gap around 330 million tons, they calculated.
The statistics have large margins of errors of plus or minus of hundreds of million tons.
“We can’t get there with our current set of policies,” said study lead author Jeffrey Greenblatt, a senior scientist at the national lab. “We would fall short of the target if there is no further action.”
That doesn’t mean that the U.S. can’t reach its goal, it’s just it has to do more and it can, Greenblatt said. He said he was optimistic that with more action the U.S. could come close to the 26% goal, if not achieve it.
The biggest reduction that Greenblatt and his colleague Max Wei calculate would come from the Obama administration’s clean power plan that would cut carbon pollution from power plants, mostly coal. But that plan is on hold in the courts. If it doesn’t go into effect, it will be even harder for the U.S. to reach its Paris goal, Greenblatt said. It’s also a policy that Republicans, including Donald Trump, have vowed to repeal if they win.
Greenblatt and …