Kerry Falsely Praises Obama For Lowering CO2 Emissions
In a speech before the Atlantic Council Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry praised President Barack Obama’s “Climate Action Plan” for making huge strides in the crusade against global warming.
— Valerie Volcovici (@ValerieVolco) March 12, 2015
But Kerry’s praise is misplaced. It’s unclear if Obama’s “Climate Action Plan” has had any impact on U.S. carbon dioxide reductions in the past few years. Government data shows that U.S. emissions began to fall in 2007 — Obama’s “Climate Action Plan” wasn’t announced until summer 2013.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data shows that greenhouse gas emissions (which includes carbon dioxide, methane and other sources) began to level out in the mid-2000s, peaking in 2007 at 7.45 million metric tons before plummeting 6.4 percent by 2009 as the country went into recession.
Obama took office in 2009 when the economy was down, and the country has been hampered by slow recovery ever since, which has also meant that carbon dioxide emissions stayed relatively low as well. In 2009, the U.S. emitted about 6.79 million metric tons of CO2 and by 2013 the country was only emitting 6.74 million metric tons of greenhouse gases.
In 2009, Obama pledged to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 — a major commitment, but one that he largely did not act on until his second term.
In fact, it wasn’t until June 2013 that Obama officially announced his “Climate Action Plan” that included regulations on power plant emissions. In March 2014, Obama announced a plan to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas drilling.
But while Obama was promising regulations on carbon dioxide, the private sector was already reducing emissions.
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