US urges CO2 cuts across Americas

Steven Chu, the US energy secretary, urged officials from throughout the Americas to support a new initiative to reduce carbon emissions and make cities in the western hemisphere more energy efficient, Reuters reported. “We must pursue energy efficiency as aggressively as possible for both economic and environmental reasons,” Chu said. “Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way of combating climate change.”

Launching the “Low-Carbon Communities of the Americas” programme, Chu addressed an energy and climate change event in Lima, Peru. “The cities of our hemisphere are growing rapidly,” he said by video link. “How these cities develop will determine the carbon footprint for the region for generations to come.”

Chu said the initiative will include financial support from the US energy department and technical support from national laboratories in the search for effective policies and technologies.

In another development, the White House unveiled the most authoritative report yet on global warming’s effects on the United States, the Guardian reported. The document, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, was released as part of a strategy to help build support for president Barack Obama’s climate-change legislation.

“I really believe this report is a game changer,” said Jane Lubchenco, chief of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “I think that much of the foot-dragging in addressing climate change is a reflection of the perception that climate change is way down the road in the future and it affects only remote parts of the world. This report says climate change is happening now. It is happening in our own backyard.”

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