The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has recommended a 60% reduction in CO2 output in order to stabilize CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, i.e. a reduction from the current emissions of 6m tonnes per annum to 2.4m tonnes.
A 1998 study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) titled Approaching the Kyoto Targets: Five Key Strategies for the United States, shows how the United States can achieve over 60 percent of the carbon emissions reduction necessary for meeting the Kyoto Protocol target through actions in the United States that will save consumers and businesses money. The five strategies stimulate widespread energy efficiency improvements in all sectors of the economy. They are: (1) New appliance and equipment efficiency standards and related voluntary programmes (2) Public benefit trust fund as part of electric utility industry restructuring (3) Fuel economy standards and market incentives to improve vehicle fuel economy (4) Removing barriers inhibiting greater use of combined heat and power systems (5) Power plant efficiency standards. It is estimated that these five initiatives could cut U.S. carbon emissions in 2010 by 310 million tons per year – 17 percent of the emissions expected in 2010 given business-as-usual trends and policies. Furthermore, the emissions reductions could nearly double by 2020 as efficiency improvements continue to be made and more appliances, buildings, vehicles, and power plants are replaced.
According to a 1997 report, Britain was one of only two or three countries likely to meet its Rio commitments – an unexpected bonus after the collapse of the coal industry.
Contrary to the rather unrealistic commitments of the 1994 Rio Convention, it is our estimate that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2010 will be more than 30 percent higher than they were in 1990.