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Donald F. Boesch
President, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Donald F. Boesch

Donald F. Boesch, an oceanographer, is president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and Vice Chancellor for Environmental Sustainability for the University System of Maryland. ALL POSTS

Learn from Europe

I am late joining into this discussion and it is amazing how opinions among the Panelists diverge about the achievements of the Kyoto Protocol, particularly in Europe. A report released last week by the European Environmental Agency (EEA) claims that all original member states of the European Union but one (Austria) are on track to meet their Kyoto Protocol commitments to limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Protocol required the 15 EU nations to reduce average emissions during 2008-2012 to 8 percent below 1990 levels and the latest projections indicated that emissions will have been reduced by more than 13 percent, with Sweden, the UK and France leading the pack

These reductions will be achieved through a combination of polices that limit emissions, including the trading of emission allowances through the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), and forest practices that absorb carbon dioxide, but are also based on the purchase of credits from emission-reducing activities outside of the EU. The EU has committed to reduce emissions further to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 and the Agency estimates that three quarters of that could be achieved within Europe, without the purchase of outside offset credits.

Although Europe may be criticized for creative bookkeeping and some nations have been more successful than others, it appears that it will collectively meet its Kyoto commitments and the much maligned ETS has helped. We need to learn from these experiences in finding effective and efficient pathways to reduce emissions dramatically. Science makes it increasingly clear, time is not on our side.

By Donald F. Boesch  |  November 18, 2009; 8:59 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Please report offensive comments below.

We learned about the "Piltdown man" from Europe.

It took 40 years to thoroughly debunk that hoax.

Thanks to the internet, the "Meltdown Man" hoax will be gone in 20 years.

Posted by: dumbreddown | November 29, 2009 3:44 AM
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