Global economic slowdown hit by financial crisis is mostly judged negatively but it has done a few good things as well. Among these few good things is definitely less CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere from U.S. power plants in 2008. This is really something positive, especially if we look back in 2007 when U.S. CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels increased by 1.6 percent. Can we finally start looking forward to even bigger decline in U.S. CO2 emissions in years to come or was 2008 just an exception?
This decline in CO2 emissions is almost entirely a result of two major factors: global economic slowdown and milder temperatures. The Environmental Integrity Project reports how these two factors are responsible for decline of 3.1 percent in carbon emissions from U.S. power plants in 2008. This of course is far away from Obama's goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions 14 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and more than 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050 but is still a good news.
However, as Environmental Integrity Project Senior Attorney Ilan Levin said. "Unfortunately, one year of improved data does not mean that we are on the right path for carbon dioxide reduction from U.S. power plants". This is definitely true, it will take lot more than one year before we can speak of real CO2 reduction trend in U.S., and Obama really has lot of work ahead of him if he is to achieve his goals.
To reach his goals Obama will try to convince Congress to pass legislation that will establish a system capping carbon emissions where polluters will be required to acquire permits to emit carbon. Even if Congress accepts this plan U.S. will still need to put lots of efforts to reach these goals, and many of the nation's dirtiest power plants will need to be cleaned up or closed if U.S. seriously wants to curb down greenhouse gas emissions.