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IEA says US emission cuts plan still not enough

US CO2 emissions cuts are a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done by the world’s largest emitter and oil consumer, the chief economist of the IEA said last week. The US House has passed a bill that sets a 17 percent reduction target for emissions by 2020 from 2005 levels, but a Senate version is shooting for a 20 percent cut.

“That bill will open the door for more reductions to come. It is a very important first positive step in the right direction,” IEA’s Fatih Birol told a seminar in Helsinki. The IEA advises 28 industrialised countries, including the US, on energy policy.

“We think it would be extremely useful to have that bill go through. But it is still unfortunately lower than we think the US should do … there is a lot of effort still to be done,” Birol added.

The United States has said it will propose a target to cut emissions at UN climate change talks in Copenhagen in December, with a senior Obama administration official saying on Monday Washington would make its plans clear in the “next several days.”

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