What's the Latest Development?
A new report out from the International Energy Agency (IEA) offers an aggressive plan for nations to follow over the next seven years in order to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The suggestions include imposing tighter energy-efficiency standards on a wide range of consumer and industrial equipment, not building any more coal-fired power plants, and partially reducing subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. If the plan is implemented, says the agency, the world can stay on track towards its goal of keeping the global temperature increase to under 2 degrees Celsius.
What's the Big Idea?
The IEA predicts that by 2020, if current policies remain unchanged, greenhouse gas emissions will be 4 billion tons higher than they should be if countries want a 50 percent chance at reaching the global temperature goal. The plan they present is designed to fill what they call "the ambition gap" between those policies and a better 2020 outcome. It's not as if no progress has been made: The report notes that both the US and the European Union saw their CO2 contributions drop between 2011 and 2012. Also, while China's CO2 emissions continue to grow, the rate of that growth slowed during the same period.
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