U.S. needs additional steps to reduce emissions -World Resources

Wed Feb 6, 2013 2:31pm EST
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* Natural gas use had helped cut emissions - report

* Economic downturn, natural gas use are temporary trends

* Think tank recently briefed administration officials

* New standards for existing power plants seen as target

By Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON, Feb 6 (Reuters) - The United States will not be able to meet its goal of slashing greenhouse gases 17 percent by 2020 from a 2005 baseline without taking additional steps to target emissions, a new report found.

The economic downturn and an increase in supplies of cheap natural gas, which has displaced coal in some power plants, have slashed carbon emissions but are only temporary trends, according to the World Resources Institute, a think tank that focuses on global environmental issues

WRI recently shared its findings with administration officials.

After President Barack Obama pledged in his inaugural address last month to respond to the "threat of climate change," analysts have said the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies will be charged with the task of carrying out that goal, in the absence of Congressional action.   Continued...