Greenhouse-gases reduction: A work in progress

Much painstaking work has been initiated to limit fossil-fuel burning so as to reduce the concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases and therefore prevent any further related fallout. A complete moratorium on the burning of fossil fuels is the ideal.

Source: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Being that this is not likely to happen anytime soon, it is, however, important to keep tabs on the progress with regard to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions-reduction activities.

A concern known as Next 10 has been doing just that.

In its “Decade of data charts global greenhouse gas emissions and economic trends in advance of Global Climate Action Summit” press release, the California-based think tank references the California Green Innovation Index.

With regard to this report, Next 10 in the release wrote: “The Index compares state and environmental indicators with the U.S. and the rest of the world, and finds that in the ten years since California passed its first climate law, emissions fell by 11 percent, even as its economy grew by almost 16 percent during one of the longest economic expansions in the state’s history. The European Union (EU-28) was the only major economy to cut emissions more than California, but its real economic output grew by only 8.8 percent.”

Clean-energy development is a bright spot. Next 10 emphasized that “[o]ne clear positive trend in climate action has been the global boom in clean energy generation and innovation,” and further added “[r]enewable energy increased 339 percent globally between 2005 and 2015, led by a massive increase in solar electricity generation as technologies improved and equipment costs fell. Around the world, solar generation increased 6,327 per cent [sic] between 2005 and 2015. Wind power grew by 701 percent globally.”

Leading the way in generation from renewable-energy sources, according to Next 10, is the EU-28. Blazing the same trail but to lesser degrees are “the United States, China, Germany and Japan. Looking at carbon intensity – a measure of greenhouse gas emissions relative to GDP [Gross Domestic Product] – France is the world’s least carbon-intensive economy, followed by Argentina, California, the U.K. and Nigeria, respectively.”

California, though not a country, is recognized as having the fifth-largest economy in the world and, according to Next 10, ranks number 18 in terms of GHG-emissions output.

Source: California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board

“‘Over the course of a decade, comprehensive, consistent policy in California created market certainty. That drove investment and advanced technology. California is third only to China and the U.S. as a whole in attracting clean technology investment,’ said Adam Fowler, director of research at Beacon Economics, the independent research and consulting firm that compiled the Index for Next 10.”

Such sentiments were echoed in the release by Next 10 founder and businessman F. Noel Perry who said: “… California is a world leader in innovation and climate policy, which has resulted in strong economic growth and emissions reductions.”

With such encouraging words, though, comes a caveat: “… [T]ransportation emissions in California continue to rise at a time when the federal government is attempting to curtail our ability to control those emissions,” Perry further related in the release.

Meanwhile, globally, contributing the most emissions of GHG is China and, to lesser degrees, America (all 50 states), the European Union, Russia and India, Next 10 in the release in question submitted.

What is more, the organization goes on in the press statement to relate: “The tenth annual California Green Innovation Index charts a decade of mixed results. Global emissions rose by 15 percent, led by growing emissions from fast-growing economies like China and India.”

Though there is a lot to be encouraged by and get excited about here, clearly, much air/emissions clean-up work lies ahead.

Middle image above: United States Air Force

This post was last revised on Dec. 21, 2020 @ 7:03 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.

– Alan Kandel

2 thoughts on “Greenhouse-gases reduction: A work in progress”

  1. wow – pretty hefty job of patting themselves on the back! Over the same period of time California was reducing emissions, they were also driving manufacturing to other places around the globe that were happy to burn coal, with much more limited emission controls (not to mention other generating other wastes. Object is supposed to be to help the globe, not just the local area

    The 1st rule of pollution control is to not remove one kind of pollution by creating another (ex: scrubbers that turn air pollution into water pollution isn’t helpful)

  2. One thing kind of lost in this discussion is the noticeable impact the Great Recession (2007-09) had on CA GHG emissions.

    If you checked CA power generation numbers you’d see overall usage in GWhrs has been pretty stable over the last couple of decades with exception of the Great Recession. Over the last decade wind and solar electric generation has grown substantially with solar growing from 0% to 7% of total generation in CA. Increases in solar and wind electric generation appear to have offset reductions in the Hydro category during the last drought (2011-17)

    As far as loosing manufacturing jobs, CA doesn’t seem to have lost (percentage wise) any more manufacturing jobs than other states such as PA since 2000.

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