Global Consensus on Emissions Begins to Emerge

October 10, 2017

2017 has observed announcements from across Europe and Asia regarding emissions targets and how individual nations plan to meet them. Bold plans have been submitted to the United Nations to curb total global emissions and a cursory review of the results are as follows:

Both the UK and France have pledged to end the sale of diesel and gasoline vehicles by 2040, with each nation becoming emission free by 2050.

China has pledged to lower its emissions by 60-70% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels; a critical announcement from the World’s largest car market.

India finds itself in a more serious situation regarding emissions, vowing to sell only electric cars by 2030. Doctors have said breathing the air in New Delhi, the nation’s capital, is like smoking 10 cigarettes a day.

Other nations making intermediate-term pledges to reduce emissions by 2030 include Denmark, Japan and Korea, whose targets are 30%, 26% and 37% respectively.

Short-term goals set by other European nations include modest reductions in emissions from the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, of 14%, 3% and 10% by 2020 respectively. Germany is the most ambitious with its short-term target of 40% reduction of emissions by 2020, from 1990 levels.

Norway finds itself in an interesting position regarding its own emissions targets. Though it already gains much of its own power consumption from renewable sources, such as wind and hydropower, it still exports 10 times its own energy consumption in the form of oil, and is the sixth largest global producer of emissions when oil exports are taken into consideration.

Meeting proposed emissions targets have also proven difficult for some European nations, including both Austria and Ireland, who will both be falling short of their 2020 emission reduction targets. Both nations will likely need to engage in carbon credit schemes to make up for the difference, which will cost each nation hundreds of millions of Euros.

Transitioning to a Fuel Cell economy will play a critical role in meeting emissions targets. Norway and Japan are co-sponsoring a project to evolve Japan into a ‘Hydrogen Society’, where the vast majority of power will come from fuel cell technologies. Within the US, a coalition of states have formed H2USA, whose working groups addresses codes, standards, investment and funding. There is also the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), who implement national environmental programs required under federal legislation.

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