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Target: Intensity

An Analysis of Greenhouse Gas Intensity Targets

An analysis of GHG Intensity targets, underlying indicators, rationales, real-world applications, and implementation issues.

Executive Summary

Greenhouse gas intensity targets are policies that specify emissions reductions relative to productivity or economic output, for instance, tons CO2/million dollars GDP. By contrast, absolute emissions targets specify reductions measured in metric tons, relative only to a historical baseline.

This report looks specifically at intensity targets and explores their underlying indicators, rationales, real-world applications, and implementation issues. It finds that although intensity targets are often dismissed as being environmentally lax or deceptive, they nonetheless could be useful policy instruments, when properly used, for furthering significant and real commitments to reducing greenhouse gases.

Table of Contents

  • Overview of GHG Intensity
  • International Comparisons of Intensity
  • Rationales for Intensity Targts
  • Experiences and Proposals
  • Evaluation
  • Environmental Effectiveness
  • Complexity & Public Understanding
  • Cost Uncertainty
  • Intensity Targets & Emissions Trading
  • Data Verification & Compliance

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