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Fair Plan 5: A Critical Appraisal of Five Congressional Bills to Reduce US CO2 Emissions

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DOI: 10.4236/acs.2014.45076    2,727 Downloads   3,126 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

The most recent US Congressional climate bill, H.R.5271 in 2014, proposes to reduce US emissions of carbon dioxide relative to their 2005 value by 80% in 2050. This bill does not provide a rationale for this rapid phase down of CO2 emissions. In 2012, we crafted a Fair Plan to Safeguard Earth’s Climate such that: 1) The cumulative trade-adjusted CO2 emissions by the developing countries equal the cumulative trade-adjusted CO2 emissions by the developed countries; 2) The maximum global warming above preindustrial temperature does not exceed the 2°C (3.6°F) chosen by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change “to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”; and 3) The phase out of CO2 emissions begins as late as possible in the 21st century and proceeds at the slowest possible pace, consistent with objectives 1 and 2. The Fair Plan begins in 2020 and reduces the world’s emissions to zero in 2100. In the Fair Plan the emissions of the developed countries, including the United States, reach 80% below their 2005 values in 2094, that is, 44 years later than proposed by H.R.5271. While it is imperative that humanity begins to wean itself from fossil fuels no later than 2020, the transition from fossil to non-fossil energy need not be completed before 2100 if all countries follow their Fair Plan trajectories.

Cite this paper

Schlesinger, M. , Ring, M. , Lindner, D. , Cross, E. and Prince, V. (2014) Fair Plan 5: A Critical Appraisal of Five Congressional Bills to Reduce US CO2 Emissions. Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, 4, 866-873. doi: 10.4236/acs.2014.45076.

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