Despite what some high-profile figures may tell you, man-made climate change is a real and present threat to almost everything, including agriculture, the global economy, human health, biodiversity, major cities, and even the notion of peaceful coexistence itself. It is, funnily enough, not a hoax invented by the Chinese.
The Paris agreement, recently ratified by the US and China, is a huge step in the right direction, a groundbreaking agreement that paves the way for a world that won’t be scorched by our negative influence. However, a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change reveals what many scientists already suspect – that unless the US does more, it will fail to reach its goals set under the pact.
By 2025, the Obama administration – which has been very keen to protect as much of the environment as possible before it concludes its second term in office – has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by between 26 and 28 percent below 2005 levels.
Taking into account all major greenhouse gas emissions, and comparing them to efforts by state and local governments to reduce them, a team from the US Department of Energy’s (DoE) Lawrence Berkeley National Lab have estimated that the US will reach around four-fifths of that goal.
Their calculations have large margins of error, but the team are confident that unless the Paris agreement is strengthened and the US enhances and builds on its progress so far, it won’t hit that all-important target. Considering that the US is the world’s second most prolific carbon emitter, its success (or lack thereof) in hitting its climate change mitigation targets will strongly influence how other sizable nations around the world act on their own carbon footprint.
“We can't get there with our current set of policies,” lead author Jeffrey Greenblatt, a senior scientist at the DoE, told the Associated Press. “We would fall short of the target if there is no further action.”
Renewable energy is on the rise – but is it proliferating fast enough to make a difference? maxuser/Shutterstock