Report urges U.S. action to reduce emissions
May 13, 2011, Washington, D.C. – The United States should act “as soon as possible” to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions as part of a broader strategy to address climate change, says a new report released by the U.S. National Research Council.
May 13, 2011 By Argus Media
May 13, 2011, Washington, D.C. – The United
States should act “as soon as possible” to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions
as part of a broader strategy to address climate change, says a new report
released by the U.S. National Research Council (NRC).
The report, entitled America's
Climate Choices, reaffirms scientific
evidence that suggests human activity is the primary cause of global warming and
calls for a coordinated national strategy for cutting emissions and adapting to
climate change. The report urges “substantial” reductions in U.S. emissions,
along with adaptation planning, expanded research of climate change and
low-carbon technologies, and active engagement in international climate change
efforts. Reducing emissions must be among the highest priorities in a national
response to help lower the risks from climate change and avoid the future need
for “steeper and costlier cuts.”
“It is our judgment that the most effective
strategy is to begin ramping down emissions as soon as possible," says
William Carnesale, dean of the Duke University Nicholas School of the
Environment, who co-chaired the 22-member committee that produced the report.
Choices is the last in a series of four
reports on climate change the NRC produced in response to a 2008 congressional
request. The NRC is part of the National Academy of Sciences.
The NRC report does not include detailed
policy recommendations, but says that a national strategy is needed because
although current state and local efforts could be significant, they are
“unlikely to yield outcomes comparable to what could be achieved with a strong
federal effort.” The most efficient way to reduce emissions is through a
“nationally uniform price” on emissions that can spur investments in energy
efficiency and low-carbon technologies, the report says.
The report also calls for state and federal
work on adaptation planning, an “integrated portfolio of research programs” to
help increase understanding of the “causes and consequences” of climate change,
and U.S. leadership in international climate change response efforts.
“Strong U.S. emission reduction efforts
will enhance our ability to influence other countries to do the same,” the
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