U.S. Carbon Emission Plan Seen Falling Short of Europe 40% Goal

Jul 07, 2014 12:56 pm ET

July 7 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. efforts to regulate greenhouse gases will fall short of the European Union’s goal of reducing emissions by 40 percent by 2030, according to the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to regulate emissions from coal-burning power plants will reduce carbon dioxide by 18 percent by 2030 from 2012 levels, David Robinson, a senior research fellow at institute, said in a report today.

Fossil fuels will dominate the U.S. energy industry for the next 20 years and those policies will face political hurdles because they lack widespread support in Washington.

“It will be a long and contested process because of the numerous parties that will have an interest in challenging the process and the specific proposals,,” Robinson said in an e- mail today. “One cannot rule out the possibility that a change in the Senate majority or the arrival of a new president will slow the process further or lead to a change in the EPA standards.

Under the EPA regulation, the U.S. would emit 1.35 billion tons in 2035, according to an International Energy Agency forecast. The U.S. needs to reduce its emissions to less than 100 metric tons in 2035 to have at least a 50 percent chance of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the internationally agreed-upon target.

The European Commission in January proposed tighter curbs on carbon emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, compared with their current goal for a 20 percent reduction by 2020.

The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies is an independent center within the University of Oxford.