by Jean-Marc Lefevre, President of PCDDEI (Platform, Communication, Sustainable Development, Industrial Ecology)
With 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the USA, alongside Australia, are considered “bad students” of the Kyoto Academy. Castigated by NGOs of all stripes, they nevertheless announce an ambitious economic and scientific plan to reduce their discharges. Announcement effect or cleverly thought out liberalism?
A national plan ... planetary
Buenos Aires, the return? 7 years after the Fourth Conference of the Parties, world governments have found themselves in the Argentine capital to consider the very near entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, the 16 February 2005, and take stock of progress made. As in the "version1" in the same place, the US arrive without a signature, but with major statements and a post-Kyoto plan, the Climate Vision, which seems essentially credible by the dollars it mobilizes.
In 1997, the USA announced in Buenos-Aires the timely discovery of immense deposits of CO2 “stored” on American territory, in forests, in national parks, and even in deep geological layers. Anger of NGOs, fury of European countries which already had a lot to do to come to an agreement between them, floundering happily in their "Bubble". Nonetheless: the USA continued their path, in particular on carbon sinks, which they managed to formalize in June 2003, with the Forum international conference on carbon sequestration (CSLF), which also attracted 15 EU states (including France). It is no longer really a question of counting the hectares of forests, but of storing carbon dioxide at the source, coming from industrialists or large cogeneration plants, by "trapping" it in saline cavities, in oil wells at the end. operating, or in disused mines. Coal is an important issue for the USA, which today holds
22,9% of world reserves (36,2% for Asia). It was therefore perfectly normal for one of the major anti-greenhouse effect programs to be the Future Gen, announced in 2002, ie the combined production of electricity and hydrogen from coal, with sequestration of CO2 product, or transformation into CO2 supercritical (an excellent solvent).
$ 1 billion over 10 years, (half funded by the US government).
This is something of interest to countries highly dependent on this primary resource… especially if they are in the group of less developed countries, potential beneficiaries of CDM (Clean Development Mechanisms)! Even if carbon sequestration has not yet officially entered into these ﬂ exibility mechanisms, one of the objectives of the USA in Buenos Aires is to have them integrated into this new global accounting. So many credits that will be collected directly on American soil, in the name of global solidarity on reducing the greenhouse effect.
In parallel with FutureGen, there is also one of the US priorities: hydrogen, and its applications in road transport. This is the Freedom Cars program, which aims to generalize fuel cells for all production vehicles, especially trucks, by 2020. Estimated savings: 500 million tons of CO2 per year, for the United States alone, which succeeded, on this occasion, in obtaining the adhesion of most of the industrial countries.
Agriculture asked to reduce emissions
In February 2002, it was the US Department of Agriculture that was passing through the forks of reducing greenhouse gases. Objective: 12 million tons of carbon equivalent saved by 2012, in particular with proactive programs for forest preservation, but also the implementation of "biogas" for agricultural waste, intensive reforestation (especially in protected areas ), and very educational methods for farms, to allow them a financial valuation of their sequestration rates. No doubt, the US plays massively LULUCF (Land Use, Land Use Conservation and Forestry), this clean development mechanism originally designed to preserve the Amazon rainforest ...