April 1, 2015

Obama Offers 28 Percent Emissions Cut For UN Climate Treaty

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April 1, 2015 | The Hill | Timothy Cama

The White House has promised that the United States will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 28 percent over the next decade, The Hill reported.

This pledge represents the formal, written US contribution towards a United Nations climate change plan. It is also part of a deal that the US made with China last year in which the US agreed to move faster in cutting down emissions in exchange for China’s promise to stop growing emissions by 2030.

According to The Hill, White House adviser Brian Deese told reporters that the UN goal “is ambitious and achievable within existing legal authority,” and that Congress would not have to pass any new legislation to enable it.

Obama’s plan comes ahead of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, set to take place in Paris this December. Countries are expected to announce their own contributions to the climate change plan before that meeting.

As Inside Energy’s Leigh Paterson reported earlier this year, many prominent republican lawmakers, like Wyoming Senator John Barrasso and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have said that plans to cut down carbon emissions, including the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, will likely result in job loss and higher utility bills.

Utility companies have had mixed reactions to federal plans to cut down carbon emissions.  As Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reported, a senior executive from Berkshire Hathaway Energy, which owns a dozen utilities across the country, said the Clean Power Plan’s 2030 emissions reduction targets are achievable.

Other utility companies say they will not have time to prepare to meet the 2030 targets.