In the run-up to the U.N. climate summit in Paris in December, Indian environmental NGO, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), released a report which came down heavily on the U.S. — the second largest emitter of CO2 globally — for not doing enough about climate change, while preaching to other countries, including India, to “act.”
In its report ‘Captain America U.S. climate goals: a reckoning,’ the CSE concluded that with five per cent of the global population, the U.S. would disproportionately eat into 17.25 per cent of the global carbon budget till 2030, and nothing would be left for other countries after that.
Drawing attention to the deep inequalities playing out in the climate change negotiation arena globally, CSE Director Sunita Narain told the press on Wednesday that the U.S. is eating into the carbon budget space of other developing and less developed countries, which need it badly for their economic growth.Clean Power Plan
Criticising U.S. President Barack Obama’s much-touted Clean Power Plan, CSE Deputy Director General Chandra Bhushan said the U.S. would produce and consume 20 per cent more fossil fuels in 2030, than what it does today.
“The Clean Power Plan to reduce power sector emissions will only reduce it by 1.6 per cent from now till 2030. Even in 2030, about 60 per cent of U.S. electricity will be produced from coal and gas,” he pointed out. Renewable energy will only contribute about 15 per cent of primary energy in 2030, up from 11 per cent currently.
U.S. emissions saw a downward spiral only during the recession in 2007-08, the report found. In its INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) submitted to the UNFCCC in March this year, the country committed to cutting its CO2 emission levels by 26 to 28 per cent by 2030. However, in comparison to the INDCs of other developed countries like the EU-28, which agreed to cut emissions by 40 per cent, this is meagre, the CSE analysis showed. “Using 1990 as a baseline year, the U.S. will cut annual CO2 equivalent emissions by only 1400-1650 million metric tonnes, whereas EU-28 is cutting 2250 mmtcCO2eq. So, both in percentage terms and absolute emissions reduction terms, EU-28 is more ambitious than the U.S.,” the report noted.
Ms. Narain also slammed the American consumption binge, with little emphasis on public transport and preference for private cars, high use of appliances and gadgets and bigger houses. The report showed that the U.S.’s per capita household consumption expenditure is 44 times that of India. She concluded that being a powerful country, the U.S. is shifting the burden of climate action on to other countries, and driving a race to the bottom, while its inaction at home, is also pulling other countries down.