Study: policy trumps technological change in beating greenhouse gas emissions.

AuthorHerro, Alana
PositionEYE ON EARTH - Brief article

A new study finds that policy changes, not technological advances, are necessary to stem rising greenhouse gas emissions. And the amount of climate-changing pollutants released could grow more quickly in the next 50 years than the last 50, according to report authors Richard Eckaus of MIT and Ian Sue Wing of Boston University and MIT. "Technological change will not necessarily reduce dependence on fossil fuels," Eckaus says. "Energy taxes or a system of caps on energy use and trade in emissions permits are necessary."

The study, published in the November 2007 issue of Energy Policy, reports that U.S. energy use and emissions grew 2.2 percent per year between 1958 and 1996, and 1.6 percent per year from 1980 to 1996. The authors predict accelerated growth in energy use and emissions from 2000 to 2050. "The rate of growth could be higher by a half percent or more, which becomes significant when compounded over 50 years," Eckaus says.

Last December, world governments...

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