Lieberman-Warner Climate Change Bill Will Collide With Population Growth and Energy Demands

The biggest obstacles to the success of S. 2191 are the projected increases in U.S. population and energy use, both of which will make GHG emission reductions very challenging, since more people means more energy needed for home heating and cooling, job growth and transportation. Forecasts of baseline covered emissions show emissions growing by 30 percent from 2012 to 2030. Sharp cutbacks in U.S. energy use would be necessary to close the 55 percent gap in 2030 between projected emissions and the S. 2191 target.

To meet the emission reduction targets in S. 2191, U.S. per capita emissions would have to fall by 50 percent from 2000 to 2030. S. 2191’s required reductions in per capita emissions are about 25 to 35 times greater than what occurred from 1990 to 2000. The technologies simply do not exist to reduce emissions over the next 17 years by the amounts mandated in S .2191 without severely reducing the growth in the U.S. economy and in employment.

Contrary to the popular belief that the European Union’s Emission Trading System is a model for the U.S., the cap and trade approach of Kyoto Protocol simply isn’t working. Under negligible population growth, the EU-15 countries are having extreme difficulty meeting their targets. The European Environmental Agency’s latest projections show that without strong new measures, the EU-15’s greenhouse gas emissions will be 7.4 percent above 1990 levels in 2010—far short of the 8 percent below required by Kyoto. These EU countries would have to pay an extremely high economic cost to meet their emission reduction targets—as much as 3 percent of GDP by 2010, according to economic research firm Global Insight, Inc.