New World Record For Emissions Targets

Posted by: Mark Scott on June 25, 2009

In a classic case of ‘whatever you can do, I can do better,’ Scotland has announced the world’s most ambitious greenhouse gas targets — the home of Braveheart, kilts, and haggis plans to cut its emissions by a staggering 42% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. That outdoes the previous record, set by Germany which had promised a 40% reduction. Overall, the European Union has set a 20% cut by 2020, while the U.S. Congress is still bartering over a 17% cut over the same period — but based on 2005 levels.

Call me a cynic, but I’m not sure Scotland will be able to meet its ‘world-breaking’ target. Sure, the country (which although part of Britain — which plans a 34% reduction by 2020 — has autonomy to set stricter limits) has ample scope for wind power, and maybe marine energy in the coming years. But the Scots (and fellow Brits and Europeans, for that matter) are struggling to meet the European Union’s existing targets. You have to ask yourself how policymakers in Edinburgh expect to more than double the ‘20% by 2020’ reduction already mandated by their Brussels-based counterparts.

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BusinessWeek correspondents John Carey and Mark Scott, cover the green scene, keeping on top of the business aspects of energy, the environment and climate change, as well as the technologies, policies, markets and people that are shaping how the earth's resources will be used in the century ahead.

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