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In the global news, earlier this year, 55 countries pledged to limit greenhouse gases by 2020. The group of 55 makes up 78% of world carbon dioxide emissions from energy use.  Accompanying these pledges was a lot of criticism of individual governments – Britain in particular – for not meeting already set goals. But, when you look at what that country has really done since 1990, it has more than met expectations – and it’s done so using a fossil fuel, of all things.
 
If you look solely at carbon dioxide in the UK, yes, it has only fallen 10 percent since 1990. The government promised a 20 percent reduction by this year. But, the Energy and Climate Change Minister says her department looks at more than just carbon emissions. It also considers nitrous oxide and methane emissions. So, combine all of these gasses, the UK has cut its emissions by 19 percent since 1990. And, she says, it’s done so “largely as a result of the switch from coal to natural gas for making electricity.”
 
The United States was one of those 55 countries that pledged to lower emissions earlier this week. The U.S. vowed to reduce emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.
 
Earlier this year, during a luncheon, Keith Rattie, Questar chairman, president and CEO reported that the U.S. has already been able to reduce its emissions to eight percent below 2005 levels simply by converting more power plants to natural gas from coal. It was that simple. So, that means we’re already halfway to our goal. It also means a really good solution is staring our political leaders in the face.
 
Many of the solutions to reducing carbon emission in the U.S. are big ideas that are attainable in the future. Nuclear power will take at least 10 years to build up and make an impact. Wind and solar are growing, but will need more time to make measurable impact on cutting emissions. We have only ten years to cut another 9 percent and all the while, consumption will grow, working against us. That’s why encouraging more use of things like clean natural gas for power generation, CNG and Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (which make trucks and buses run 90 percent cleaner) both for transportation will get us to our goal faster, more efficiently and more cost effectively.
 
By then those alternatives will really be kicking, and maybe we can surpass that 17 percent goal.

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"The U.S. has already been able to reduce its emissions to eight percent below 2005 levels simply by converting more power plants to natural gas from coal..."