That’s quite a commitment, considering that the UK currently has nearly half the US carbon footprint. Americans average 29 tonnes each, according to a new Norwegian count this summer. Per capita the UK carbon footprint is sixteen tonnes per person per year. That makes further cuts all the more impressive. Barclay’s Bank is saying that “The Copenhagen failure did little to alter the expected supply-demand balance under the EU ETS and it is not likely to have changed the underlying hedging pattern of power sector participants”.
Australia is also sticking by its plan to introduce the climate legislation needed in 2010 to support the Copenhagen Accord to avert climate catastrophe. The new pro-”Future” government of Kevin Rudd has its legislature impeded by the same “Fossil” Party that impedes action in the US. Yet, Rudd is going ahead, though it likely will cost him his government.
And yesterday Brazil just signed into law the highest of the range of greenhouse gas emissions cuts it had pledged at Copenhagen: of 39% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
In doing so Brazil is choosing to meet the highest in the range of commitments it made (of between 36% and 39%) at the Copenhagen climate change summit. After fine-tuning it in January, with the help of science advisors, the new law will spell out the details of the requirements for different sectors of the affected economy: for farming, industrial and energy sectors.
In the case of Brazil, the emissions cuts will come largely from ending the deforestation and burning of the Amazon, rather than “promoting the development of clean energy sources and the gradual phasing out of energy from fossil fuels.”
Which makes sense. The Amazon is really a giant natural utility, that supplies billions of dollars worth of water and air conditioning to the planet, that would cost us $50 billion a year to replace. Deforesting it as we do now, generates 7 billion tonnes of carbon emissions a year.
The US is poised to either make it or break it in 2010. If we sign a climate and energy bill into law, that safely transitions us into the 21st century renewable energy economy that Europe and China are already investing in big-time – we will inspire the rest of the world to sign on in Mexico in November when we get a chance to finalize the Copenhagen Accord and make it work.
Or we can give in to the forces of ignorance and continue to filibuster the change we all need, even though these people look like they could use the money we’ll save by switching to clean American energy. About $21 billion a year.
Image: Flikr user foramenglow
Susan Kraemer writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate and GreenProphet and has been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design she brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention: solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times. Follow Susan @dotcommodity on twitter.