How does Obama’s clean power plan compare to Europe’s climate and energy packages?

How does Obama’s clean power plan compare to Europe’s climate and energy packages?

On Monday 2nd of June, Obama announced his latest climate policy. The proposed directive aims to cut carbon-dioxide emissions from US power plants by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 [1]. It is his most sweeping policy to address global warming so far. A reduction of 30 percent seems to be in the same order of magnitude as Europe’s EU2020 and EU2030 targets. But is it really? Let’s take a closer look. We will start by summarizing what Europe’s EU2020 and EU2030 climate packages consist of. The EU2020 package aims to cut total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of all participating countries by 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 [2]. In similar vein, the EU2030 package aims to cut total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of all participating countries by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 [3]. These climate policies are defined by a number of criteria. First, the type of emission is specified. Second, the polluter to whom the target applies is defined. Third, a reference period is chosen to use as an emission benchmark. This is often done by specifying the emission during a certain year. Fourth, the actual reduction target is set. Fifth and finally, a target date is specified by when these emission reductions should be made. With these criteria in mind, we can analyze the differences in Obama’s and Europe’s climate policies: First, Obama’s policy only takes CO2 into account, while Europe’s are about all the greenhouse gases. It is true that, of all the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, CO2 is accountable for the biggest share, but it is not the only one. CO2 represents approximately 84% of all greenhouse gases in the US1. [4] Second, the new policy of...