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Many US Cities Lack Data to Measure Greenhouse Emissions Progress: Report

With about 870,000 residents, Indianapolis, Indiana, was among the largest cities lacking data

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FILE - A view of the Mississippi River as Tropical Storm Barry approaches land in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. July 12, 2019. A new report says U.S. cities, like New Orleans, that set goals to slash greenhouse emissions lack the data to measure progress. VOA

American cities including Atlanta, Miami and New Orleans that set goals to slash planet-warming greenhouse emissions are lacking the data to measure their progress, scientists said in a new report.

Some 40% of U.S. cities that committed to cutting emissions are unable to assess their programs because costly tallies of their emissions are inadequate, said the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a nonprofit organization. “City resources are always tight,” said David Ribeiro, the report’s lead author and a senior research manager at ACEEE.

The lack of data could also be due to emission-cutting goals having only recently been adopted, or to insufficient political will, Ribeiro said. Of the 75 cities surveyed, just over 20% had pledged to cut emissions and were able to measure advances with recently produced evidence. Cities account for two-thirds of the world’s energy demand and 70% of energy-related emissions, the report said, citing cited International Energy Agency data.

greenhouse emissions
Currently, the planet is moving toward the high estimates of greenhouse gas concentrations. Pixabay

Plans to cut emissions have grown increasingly ambitious in the United States since President Donald Trump vowed in 2017 to leave the landmark Paris climate accord, said Katie Walsh of CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, a non-profit that supports collection of environmental data. The report said Los Angeles pledged to reduce its greenhouse gases by 100 percent by 2050, thus virtually eliminating them, compared to 2016, with municipal data projecting it would meet that goal.

ALSO READ: New York Governor Signs Ambitious Climate Change Bill with Goal of Slashing Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2030

But in another 21 cities, authorities had not collected enough emission data to track their progress, it said on Wednesday. With about 870,000 residents, Indianapolis, Indiana, was among the largest cities lacking data to assess its progress toward becoming carbon neutral – producing no more climate-changing emissions than can be offset by other means – by 2050.

Other large cities hampered by insufficient data include Nashville, Tennessee, Detroit, Michigan, and Louisville, Kentucky, the report said. Lucy Hutyra, a Boston University associate professor of earth and environment, said pledging to reduce greenhouse gasses was a good “aspirational first step.” But, she added, “Without a clear plan for monitoring the efficacy of emissions reduction policies, it is all aspiration.” (VOA)

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EU Leaders Agree Making the 28-member Bloc Carbon Neutral by 2050

EU agrees to become carbon neutral by 2050

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EU aims to become carbon neutral by 2050. Wikimedia Commons

BY VISHAL GULATI

European Union leaders meeting in Brussels have agreed to make the 28-member bloc carbon neutral by 2050.

However, coal-reliant Poland has been given time until June to fully endorse the commitment to implement the agreed EU objective.

Climate experts told IANS for the first time the EU leaders, who met in Brussels on Thursday, came out with a time-frame by agreeing to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050, thereby opening the way to start a discussion on raising the EU’s 2030 climate target as soon as possible.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who is at the UN climate change conference (COP25), said on Friday that he was encouraged by the fact that the European Union decided to move ahead with its commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050.

“This example of #ClimateAction needs to be followed worldwide,” he tweeted.

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EU’s top priority is to reduce Carbon Emissions. Pixabay

In November last year the European Commission put forward a proposal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, a much needed long-term goal to bring the EU closer to meeting the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement goal and keeping temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Wednesday’s European Green Deal communication indicates that the European Commission will propose a new, substantially increased 2030 climate target by summer 2020.

Now that the net-zero emission goal is endorsed, the EU’s top priority is to adopt a new, increased climate target for 2030 well before next year’s UN Climate Summit, COP 26, in November.

EU leaders invited the European Commission to present a proposal for a new EU 2030 climate target in good time ahead of the UN Climate Conference.

COP26, taking place in Glasgow, is the international deadline by which all parties to the Paris Agreement must submit new and far more ambitious greenhouse gas emission reductions targets for 2030.

However, say climate experts, a couple of concessions were negotiated.

Poland has not been ready to fully commit to the implementation of the objective, but has also not blocked the collective endorsement of climate neutrality by 2050.

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Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe Director Wendel Trio told IANS: “Setting a target of net zero emissions by 2050 is a vital and necessary first step to limit the escalating climate crisis.”

“But to jump-start climate action now in line with the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal, the EU needs to increase its target for 2030, not just for 2050.” (IANS)