Global environmental challenges
Stuart Gaffin is a climate researcher at Columbia University and is a regular contributor with his blog “Exhausted Earth”. ThomsonReuters is not responsible for the content – the views are the author’s alone.
On April 16 President Bush gave a speech laying out a new United States climate policy goal – stabilizing US emissions by the year 2025.
During the course of this speech the President reported as progress a previous goal he had announced in 2002: that the “carbon intensity” of the US economy under his administration has been declining at the rate of about 18% per decade — the rate he targeted in 2002. Carbon intensity is the amount of carbon emitted by US fossil fuel combustion per dollar of US economic output.
There has been both just and unjust criticism about using this benchmark for progress on US climate. Just criticism is the fact that the US economy has long been ‘decarbonizing,’ including under the Clinton Administration, at a little less than 18% per decade, without any climate change policies.