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General · 14th May 2014
Barry Saxifrage
Hint: we already do it here in BC...

(NOTE: This article originally published April 4, 2014 on the

America - - the world's all-time largest climate polluter - - currently emits more climate pollution than 175 other nations combined. Per person, Americans emit more than double the climate pollution of Europeans, Japanese or Chinese and ten times more than Indians or Indonesians. Clearly, any hope for a safe climate future requires America to meet its climate promises to dramatically cut climate pollution over the long term.

So when the US government's flagship Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) report shows that every American energy scenario they evaluted that did not have a carbon fee resulted in dramatic climate failure - - people around the world should pay attention. To highlight just how badly America fails without a fee on climate pollution I created the first chart below from the AEO data. It includes the CO2 projections for all twenty one AEO energy scenarios that do not include a CO2 fee. I've also included America's climate goals as a dotted green line.

As you can quickly see, every scenario without an economy-wide carbon fee leads to between five and six billion tonnes of CO2 per year as far out as 2040. This is consistent with a climate "catastrophe" of +6oC in global warming according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

For those interested in avoiding the extreme climate misery that would bring, the AEO report has one hopeful scenario. They call it the "GHG25" scenario. This is their Reference scenario with the addition of "a price for CO2 emissions throughout the economy, starting at $25 per metric ton in 2014 and rising by 5 percent per year through 2040." This simple carbon fee would single-handedly cut America's climate pollution 40% by 2040. I've added this GHG25 scenario as a bold green line to the second chart below.

The good news is that America has a simple and quick-to-implement way to achieve dramatic reductions in her climate pollution....

Click here to continue reading the full article at the Vancouver Observer