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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...

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

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David Max Braun
More than forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Max 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. In his 22-year career at National Geographic he was VP and editor in chief of National Geographic Digital Media, and the founding editor of the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directed 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. A regular expert on National Geographic Expeditions, David also lectures on storytelling for impact. He has 120,000 followers on social media: Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn