Thursday, February 22, 2007

EU Pledges Unilaterally to Reduce Carbon Emissions by 20%

Earlier this week, the European Union agreed to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases by 20% within 13 years — but you might not have found out about it if you only read U.S. news sources.

In Europe, environmentalists grumbled that a 30% cut was needed if there was to be any hope of stabilizing temperatures. (I'm not sure where they got that figure. Don't we have to zero out emissions to fully stabilize temperature increases?) But EU officials said a bigger cut would be economically harmful if it was done unilaterally. So they plan to press the U.S. and China to commit to a 30% cut in a post-Kyoto agreement.

Is this credible? According to an article in the Guardian, "the EU's original 15 members are well short of reaching their 8% cut by 2012" under the Kyoto protocol. So if they can't do 8% over 1990 levels, how are they going to do 20 or 30% over current levels?

Meanwhile, here in the United States, the EU's new commitment to combat global warming was barely covered in news reports. The Washington Post relegated it to a tiny brief. And Michael Nisbet reports over at Framing Science that global warming did not make it onto the list of the 10 most heavily covered news stories since the first of the year, as indexed by the Project for Excellence in Journalism. This is despite the flurry of coverage around the release of the IPCC report.

I guess we'll have to wait for hurricane season for the next barrage of coverage.

-- T.Y.


Andrew Dessler said...

no, you don't have to zero out emissions to stabilize CO2 emissions. there's a discussion about that about half-way through this post.

I think 30% cuts are achievable, but not in 13 years. that's too much too fast.

Anonymous said...

"I guess we'll have to wait for hurricane season for the next barrage of coverage"

I guess that says it all about this blog...