Countdown to Copenhagen: US & China Announce Carbon Reductions

The world had been waiting years for the U.S. and China to agree to carbon cuts. And in less than 24 hours, that’s exactly what happened. On Nov. 25, U.S. officials announced carbon reduction targets that could help push through an agreement at the upcoming climate change summit in Copenhagen. The proposal — a roughly 17% cut in CO2 output by 2020 vs. 2005 levels — matches goals already laid out in climate change legislation currently working its way through Congress. That represents approximately a 3% reduction based on 1990 levels, a benchmark used in the Kyoto Protocol. The U.S. also plans to cut its CO2 output by 83% by 2050. China, which had previously refused to reduce its carbon output, said on Nov. 26 it would cut CO2 levels per unit of GDP by up to 45% by 2020, compared to 2005 figures. The target, though, remains voluntary.

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