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February 17, 2003
Volume 81, Number 7
CENEAR 81 7 p. 16
ISSN 0009-2347


Energy Department announces guide for cutting emissions intensity


At the Department of Energy last week, government officials and corporate leaders showcased what they called a significant commitment to a voluntary program for reducing greenhouse gases. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham announced the program, which is meant to reduce the growth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

The plan, Abraham said, is an attempt to achieve President George W. Bush's goal of reducing greenhouse gas intensity--the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions to economic output--by 18% over the next decade.

Numerous industrial initiatives were announced at the DOE gathering. EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, for example, said the magnesium industry has promised to eliminate emissions of sulfur hexafluoride by 2010. Edison Electric Institute and six other power sector groups announced plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 3 to 5% during this decade. And American Chemistry Council members have agreed to an 18% reduction in greenhouse gas intensity from 1990 levels by 2012, said George A. Walczak, industry relations manager at Nova Chemicals.

DOE projects a 14% reduction in greenhouse gas intensity between 2002 and 2012 without special efforts to reduce emissions and says total greenhouse gas emissions will increase 14% over the decade even if the President's goal is reached. Opponents of the policy point out that the intensity of the overall U.S. economy declined 17.5% from 1990 to 2000 under business as usual even as greenhouse gas emissions increased. Bush's plan "uses a deceptive accounting tactic to camouflage continued pollution growth at the same unsafe rate as today and possibly even faster," the Natural Resources Defense Council says.


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Copyright © 2003 American Chemical Society

Related Stories
Greenhouse Gas Emission Curb
[C&EN, Jan. 13, 2003]

Climate Change
[C&EN Archives]

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This picture of the early universe--when it was about 200 million years old--captures the afterglow of the big bang and gives a new estimate for its age: 13.7 billion years. The image was made by NASA scientists using the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, which NASA says has a 1% error margin


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