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U.S. Carbon Emissions Set to Fall 17%, Meeting Obama’s Goal

U.S. Carbon Emissions on Track to Fall 17%, Meeting Obama Goal
A plume of exhaust extends from the Mitchell Power Station, a coal-fired power plant built along the Monongahela River, 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, on Sept. 24, 2013 in New Eagle, Pennsylvania. The plant, owned by FirstEnergy, will be one of two plants in the region to be shut down, affecting 380 employees. Photographer: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

The U.S. can reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases 17 percent by 2020 if it enacts proposed rules to cut pollution from power plants and curbs methane leaks, the U.S. State Department said in a report today.

In order for the nation to meet the goal laid out by President Barack Obama for cutting reductions relative to 2005 levels, the country will need to follow through with proposals to curb carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants, spur use of high-efficiency light bulbs, and policies to boost solar and wind deployment, said the draft report, which will be submitted to the United Nations.

The report said average U.S. emissions of the gases blamed for climate change from 2009 to 2011 fell to their lowest level since the mid-1990s. Emissions are down 6.8 percent compared with 2005, but are expected to “rise gradually” over the remaining six years of the decade under the current policies, the report said.

If the slate of actions Obama unveiled in June are implemented, the net effect could be the 17 percent reduction, the report said. The report was issued the day before the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN-based organization created to assess climate change, is scheduled to issue its analysis of the causes and impacts of global warming.

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