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According to new research from Germanwatch and the Climate Action Network Europe, which ranks the climate protection performance of the 58 highest emitters worldwide, the U.S. has seen emissions reductions, but these could be just smoke and mirrors.

Reductions are, in part, the results of federal support for green technologies and tax incentives for renewables, as well as policies in favor of sustainable technologies and practices.

"The United States has shown a substantial decrease in emissions, both in relative and absolute terms, which is good news for the world's climate," said Alexander Ochs, Worldwatch Institute's climate and energy director and contributor to the report.

But there could be other explanations that do not bode as well for the future.

"The scoring of the United States should be interpreted with caution, however. Reductions are, to a substantial degree, a result of the ongoing economic crisis and the relatively warm winter last year which reduced emissions from heating," Ochs contends. "Another main factor is the shift from coal to natural gas, most of which is unconventional shale gas."

For more:
- see the report

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