Human Journey

Carbon Cuts for Everyone (in the U.S.)!

The United States sent a formal letter to the United Nations yesterday saying it intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

The Obama administration just made the January 31 deadline set by the December 2009 Copenhagen agreement for countries to pledge their support for an international effort to reduce emissions.

The letter, obtained through a handy USCAN Website showing who’s on board with the Copenhagen accord, says that the decision is based on “anticipated legislation”–a reference to the bills moving through the U.S. Congress right now.  USCAN is the U.S. branch of the Climate Action Network, a worldwide network of climate change non-governmental organizations.

After 2020, there would be more cuts: “The pathway set forth in pending legislation would entail a 30 percent reduction in 2025 and a 42 percent reduction in 2030, in line with the goal to reduce emissions 83 percent by 2050,” the letter also says.

If the final legislation differs from what is stated in the letter, the UN will be updated with the new numbers.

In other carbon-cutting news, President Obama announced an executive order today stating that the federal government will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 28 per cent by 2020.  The statement says the cuts are equivalent to 205 million barrels of oil or taking 17 million cars off the road.  Total savings for the cuts are estimated at $8 billion to $11 billion.  The federal government is the single largest user of energy in the United States.

James Robertson


Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn
  • The Window Man

    Yes, as he put it “The USA will be number 1.” This is good news.
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  • Jane

    Although it’s a great idea and it seems great and like it will solve everything do you really think they will do what they say? And if they do, do you think that they will all be on board with it? The federal governments pretty big and consists of a lot of people, and I’m sure that not all of them agree with this plan no matter how flawless it may seem. Yeah, it is a great idea and it looks good on paper but I don’t think it will be as easy as it may seem. And its hard to believe that they will do it for as long as they say they will (up to 2050) and then check their progress. If it does work, then great! I’m happy that they’re helping the enviornment greatly, I just don’t think that they will do everything they say, and I don’t think they completley understand that it will be difficult to try and cut that much electricity, etc, out of their jobs and ways of doing buisness. But I do hope it works and I think that it is a very well organized and informative plan that if it does work will help the enviornment and the future generations. And who knows, maybe it will inspire other countries to try aswell, considering we’re not the only ones who live on the planet and need to worry about it. And hopefully this will set an example to other citizens of the united states so they start becoming more energy efficient. As as for what The window man said, does it really matter than the U.S is number one? or does the fact that the enviornment will be helped matter most?

  • The Window Man

    I certainly hope they will do what they say. And yes hopefully it will inspire the others. The U.S. will be number 1!
    “I am here to serve.”
    The Window Man

  • Andi Prama

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  • Linda

    USA always rock in playing the major role in new initiatives. This is certainly a better one among them. This would be a good inspiration to the rest of the world. I wish good luck for them to achieve what they intend to.
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    It is hard to believe that they will do it for as long as they say they will (up to 2050) and then check their progress. If it does work, then great! I’m happy that they’re helping the environment greatly.
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