WRI says U.S. can meet ambitious CO2 reduction targets

The World Resources Institute (WRI) released a study May 27 saying that the United States can meet ambitious carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction goals by 2025 and still enjoy economic growth.

The new study, “Delivering on the U.S. Climate Commitment: A 10 Point-Plan Toward a Low-Carbon Future,” presents specific steps the U.S. administration and states can take across multiple sectors to reduce emissions. The analysis comes days before the next round of climate talks in Bonn, Germany, which is a critical step on the road to a new international climate agreement.

The study says that by fully implementing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan, strengthening and expanding its current and proposed policies, and addressing additional emissions sources, the United States can reduce emissions by 26% by 2025. With added policies in the power and other sectors, the nation could achieve even greater cuts, in the range of 30% by 2025.

The study touches upon issues ranging from industrial efficiency to limiting methane emissions form new and existing natural gas systems.

A 16-page summary of the WRI study notes that the United States is the world’s largest economy and the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

The study was publicly issued during a briefing at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Electric industry lawyer has doubts about CO2 reduction scenario

Bracewell & Giuliani partner Jeffrey Holmstead, a George W. Bush administration EPA official who now represents industry clients, has said the Clean Power Plan will likely be overturned by the courts.

In a statement issued May 27, Holmstead was skeptical that the Obama administration could meet its climate goals under existing laws.

“In policy circles, the big question is whether the Administration can actually live up to its pledge to China and the rest of the international community to reduce U.S. GHG emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025,” Holmstead said.

“Several senior Administration officials have said that this commitment was based on a careful analysis of the things they can do under existing laws to reduce GHG emissions,” Holmstead said. “The Administration has never released this analysis publicly, and some of us are starting to wonder if it really exists.”

“A recent study by Element VI Consulting evaluated all the actions that the Administration has taken or proposed and found that, even if they are all finalized and upheld in court and fully implemented, they are not nearly enough to achieve a 26 percent reduction by 2025,” Holmstead said.

The WRI report will be only the second study to look into this issue, Holmstead added.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.