WRI held a press briefing on February 6th at the National Press Club for the release of a major new WRI report, Can The U.S. Get There From Here? Using Existing Federal Laws and State Action to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, which examines pathways for United States greenhouse gas reductions that can be taken at the federal and state levels using existing authorities.

President Obama has pledged to take action on climate change, stating in his second inaugural address that "the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," and emphasizing that the U.S. must lead on the transition to sustainable energy. But what measures can he take to achieve these goals?

This new analysis, which is an update to our landmark July 2010 report, addresses the following questions:

  • What are current U.S. greenhouse gas emissions levels, and what are they projected to be in 2020 and 2035 if no additional action is taken to reduce them?

  • Can the U.S. meet its international commitment to reduce emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and put itself on a trajectory of more than 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050, without new federal legislation?

  • What legal and policy tools exist under current federal law to achieve emission reductions? What additional actions can states pursue to contribute to emissions reductions?

The science is clear: urgent action is needed if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. We look forward to your participation in this timely discussion.

Dr. Andrew Steer, President & CEO, World Resources Institute
Nicholas Bianco, Senior Associate, World Resources Institute, and lead author
Dr. Susan Tierney, Managing Principal, the Analysis Group and WRI Board Member