Following on the heels of legislation introduced earlier this summer in Congress calling for significant reductions in U.S. global warming emissions, the nonprofit U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) last week issued a new report entitled "Rising to the Challenge" that lays out a roadmap for achieving the proposed cuts.
U.S. PIRG details several challenging yet feasible steps for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. Some of the suggestions in the report include curtailing the growth in vehicle travel, increasing fuel economy standards for cars and trucks, replacing one out of 10 gallons of gas with cleaner biofuels, reducing energy consumption in homes, businesses and factories, and increasing the percentage of electricity generated from new renewable sources.
“This report shows that we can do something about global warming, using tools that already exist, and that our economy likely will be stronger—and our lives better—if we do,” says Emily Figdor, U.S. PIRG’s Clean Air & Energy Advocate and an author of the report. “Taking these steps would be a sizable down payment on the larger pollutionreductions that the U.S. will need to achieve in the decades ahead to keepglobal warming in check,” she adds.
The Congressional legislation proposed this past June by Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Senator James Jeffords (I-VT) calls on Americans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 14 percent below 2004 levels by 2020, and another 80 percent by 2050. But U.S. PIRG’s analysts believe even greater cuts can be achieved in the short term, so long as Americans can work together to adopt cleaner sources of energy while reducing consumption.