The Climate Treaty Emission Targets: Commitments and Results

Today’s ECO touches on the posturing and positioning continuing today at the UN Climate Conference in Poland around pledges for targets for emission reductions.  Although reports like those provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations Environment Programme, and several nongovernmental organizations show how reaching appropriate targets can be achieved, many countries continue to struggle with the pledges.  These commitments must be in the form of economy wide targets bench marked at five year intervals, which makes the task more challenging for countries without the technical or analytical capacity to rigorously establish the benchmarks.

Assume for the moment, however, that a miracle happens and the commitment targets are provided and agreed on by the parties, that the treaty is signed in 2015, and that an even greater miracle happens and the US ratifies it.   How will the US actually achieve the targeted carbon reductions?

It can be done!  President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, if fully implemented would take our country well along the way to meeting nation’s carbon reduction targets – if they are established for the treaty.  Western Resource Advocates helped develop the Clean Energy Vision ( that articulated a pathway to reduce carbon pollution in the West proportionate to the recommendations by the IPCC.  States like California and Colorado have already established carbon reduction policies that will help achieve the targets.

Colorado is currently creating rules that will reduce fugitive emissions but not necessarily methane, one of the worst greenhouse gases. We are taking a strong position that the rules in fact include methane and that the outcomes are transparent to the public.  If that happens, the CO rules would set a new standard in the West and perhaps provide a model for the EPA and the nation.  And if the above miracles happen, then the rules in CO could help the nation meet its treaty commitments.

ECO Newsletter:

READ MORE: Gary’s previous posts on the UN Climate Conference

Gary Graham

About Gary Graham

Mr. Graham joined WRA in November 2009. He has been the Executive Director of Audubon Colorado, Director as well as Chief of the Endangered Resources Branch of the Wildlife Division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Mr. Graham was a project manager of the Texas Watchable Wildlife Project for Defenders of Wildlife and an associate science director at Bat Conservation International. He is the author of Golden Guide to Bats of the World. Mr. Graham has a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico, an M.S. and B.S. from Louisiana State University, and has taken Executive leadership training at the Center for Creative Leadership.

One thought on “The Climate Treaty Emission Targets: Commitments and Results

  1. Pingback: The Climate Treaty Emission Targets: Commitments and Results : One Percent for the Planet

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