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Don't tell anyone but yes, the US is now leading the world in reducing C02 emissions. David Roberts in his excellent article in Grist gives us something to be a little happy about.

We have cut our carbon emissions more than any other country in the world in recent years — 7.7 percent since 2006. U.S. emissions fell 1.9 percent last year and are projected to fall 1.9 percent again this year, which will put us back at 1996 levels. It will not be easy to achieve the reductions Obama promised in Copenhagen — 17 percent (from 2005 levels) by 2020 — but that goal no longer looks out of reach, even in the absence of comprehensive legislation.
The reduction isn't spectacular but it's definitely happening. So why isn't anyone talking about it?   Why isn't the Obama Administration using it's bragging rights to help with the election?   The answer is that for many reasons the Administration has calculated that at this time it's best to keep quiet about this achievement because the reasons for the reduction are controversial to large groups of both constituents and adversaries.

One reason emissions have dropped is due to the recession.  Electricity use fell due to the business slowdown and has yet to recover due to the warmer 2011-2012 winter.   This is obvious.  The President doesn't want to bring up a benefit that has to do with the recession. Not right before this important election.

Another reason C02 emissions have dropped is due to cheap natural gas.  It's pushing dirty coal out of the equation.  But of course, with natural gas comes the very controversial fracking.  The extraction method for natural gas is an environmentalist's nightmare.   So best not to bring that up.

And then there is the EPA.  The EPA has finally gotten busy with it's push to regulate clean air and tighten the rules on mercury, N0x, ,S02 and C02.  But do you think The Obama Administration wants to speak to the accomplishments of the Socialist, Kenyan, tyranny, freedom killing EPA.  I think not.

So President Obama is not going to talk about it because it's a political non-starter.  And since it's not a substantial reduction we don't need to cheer either.  We need to push for more.  But there are a few things that David Roberts brings up in his article that we activists should be happy about.

Clean energy is kicking ass in some parts of the US.  More in some places than others but it's being driven by the fact that 29 states and D.C. now have mandatory renewable energy standards.  Clean energy is in our not too distant future!

Groups like the Sierra Club with it's Beyond Coal campaign have put their lives on the line to stop Mountaintop removal and in may instances they have been successful.  

Happy news is that demand has fallen off.   There seems to be a sharp cultural decline in driving.  About time!  The American car culture which has been so destructive to our environment may be slowly becoming a thing of the past.  Hazzah!

Another reason not to rejoice is that these changes are not going to stop the worst effects of climate change.  For that we have to take more immediate measures.  But damn, I'll take some good environmental news where ever I can get it.

Originally posted to Climate Hawks on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 06:19 PM PDT.

Also republished by Good News, DK GreenRoots, and Meatless Advocates Meetup.

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