How 17% is kind of like 25%

We’ve been remiss in covering the so-called Major Economies Forum, the gathering of the world’s top 17 greenhouse gas emitters that concluded in Paris yesterday.  And while some of the big economies may be calling for emissions reductions targets less stringent than, say, small island nations would prefer, the gap between the United States and Europe may be shrinking.  Even though Germany and France are urging 25-40% reductions by 2020, compared to the goal of 17% set out by the still ambitious (by U.S. standards) Waxman-Markey climate bill in the U.S. House, Obama climate envoy Todd Stern suggests these numbers are more similiar than they may appear (via Andy Revkin):

The United States is proposing to make a seismic change in U.S. policy,” he said. “The president is proposing to do that, and Congress as well is in the middle of working on this. The level of reductions we’re talking about, the level of effort we’re talking about from where we are, from a few years back before where we are, is about the same as what Europe is proposing to do.”

The key, of course, for the United States no less than the other 16 major emitters, is achieving what is possible politically.  But political will, Al Gore assures us, is as renewable a resource as he would have us implementing to power our homes.