Attended a really interesting dinner the other evening at which I heard William S Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project, talking about President Obama’s plans on Climate Change. I won’t summarise such a comprehensive response so please go to the link for the full report www.climateactionproject.com, but it did raise some interesting thoughts and perspectives.
Like most people I don’t want to be negative about Obama's climate change plans, but I fear there may be something of a gap between expectation and reality. The aims of the current administration to reduce emissions by 20% by 2020 or to the level of 1990 emissions is by current European standards still an exceptionally modest target despite the sea change that’s taken place since the new President’s election less than 70 days ago. Could it be that the previous administration has held the American people in denial for so long that even this modest set of proposals, albeit large in cash terms, is represented as such a major step forward?
Arguments in The Guardian last week, pointed out that America is contributing 12% of its GDP compared to UK’s measly 1.5% but considering America represents 20% of the world’s economic activity relating to the environment, then, proportionally they should be contributing twice the current levels.
For further evidence of this the report sites that in terms of electricity generation, the United States wastes more energy than Japan uses to power its entire economy!
The good news however is that the US could cost effectively reduce energy consumption by up to 30% over the next 20-25 years. As the strap line of the above report says, the President can. I say the President must.