Carbon Emissions Reduction Goals Unreachable
There appears to be little chance that governments around the world will meet a global goal of holding global warming to an increase of 2.7 degrees over the next decade, and no chance that the Trump administration will attempt to do so. Monday, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report saying that it would take unprecedented, concerted global efforts to slow warming and contain it at 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. That was the goal of the 2015 Paris Accord, from which President Donald Trump foolishly has withdrawn the United States. He has followed that by attempting to eviscerate emissions regulations for power plants and vehicles that the Obama administration had established to help meet the goal. According to the report, global carbon emissions would have to decline by more than 1 billion tons a year over the next decade to meet or narrowly miss the goal. Globally, those emissions are about 40 billion tons a year, led by China, 10.15 billion; the United States, 5.31 billion; and India, 2.3 billion. Carbon emissions worldwide grew by 1.6 percent in 2017. But the United States led the world in carbon emission declines, about 0.5 percent or 44 million tons, due to largely to greater fuel efficiency and the displacement of coal-fired power plants by natural gas — the very developments in the marketplace that the Trump administration seeks to reverse. The United States has the technological prowess to do its part for carbon reduction regardless of whether it formally is part of the Paris accord. But the Trump administration would have to uphold its Republican affiliation by getting out of the way of energy markets, which are bending toward carbon reduction.