United States Emission Reduction Policy

Trump’s Executive Order on Federal Climate Policies

President Obama created the President’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) in June 2013, through which he directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to promote a 26-38 percent reduction of GHG emissions from 2005 levels by 2025. Under this plan, the EPA is to promote reductions across the country in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the reduction in carbon emissions from the energy generation sector, the improvement of end-use efficiency of buildings and appliances, the reduction in pollution of hydrofluorocarbons and methane, and the promotion of carbon fixing processes through the protection of forests and other natural landscapes. This plan has been instrumental in the EPA’s creation of the Clean Power Plan, passed in 2015. It set a national target of a 32% reduction in emissions from the power generation sector from 2005 levels. The CAP has also encouraged states, cities, and counties across the nation to create their own climate action plans, and to commit to even greater GHG emissions reductions than the President’s CAP set forth. Finally, it has encouraged investment in and development of renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and wind farms.

In March 2017, President Trump signed an executive order rescinding 23 federal climate policies, crippling the Clean Power Plan and destroying the Climate Action Plan, citing the energy industry’s need for unregulated growth. Through this executive order, the President is prioritizing the fossil fuel industry heavily over the renewable energy industry. President Trump has committed to “eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule,” according to the White House website. The Trump Administration believes that the CAP must be eliminated in order to “increase wages $30 billion over the next 7 years,” but fails to mention the cost to the environment of not reducing emissions.

If the US is to meet our commitments to the Paris Agreement, it is imperative that we uphold the Climate Action Plan. Without the plan or its support for the EPA’s emissions reductions regulations, GHG emissions are projected to only decrease 7% from 2005 levels to 2020, which marks an increase from current levels. While in the short run there might be an economic cost associated with the CAP, in the long run the environmental—and subsequent economic—costs of not maintaining and implementing the CAP will be much greater.

Currently, President Trump has not indicated his intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement entirely, but under his new Executive Order the US will certainly not meet its nationally determined contributions to the agreement, and will likely not participate in further negotiations while President Trump remains in office.

Learn More

Effects of Trump’s executive order on climate change:

The President’s Climate Action Plan:

Timeline of Progress Made in President Obama’s Climate Action Plan:

White House Fact Sheet on President’s Climate Action Plan:

Summary of Resources on President’s Climate Action Plan (Center for Climate and Energy Solutions):

United Kingdom Emission Reduction Policy

Government Regulation Closing All Coal-fired Plants by 2025

In January 2016, then-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd announced that all UK coal-fired power plants would be closed by 2025, with their use restricted by 2023 at the latest. Rudd promised to prioritize energy security, competition within the energy market and a reduced financial burden on bill-payers, as well as ensuring that the replacement energy comes from sources that are affordable, clean and low-carbon. Rudd stated that “it cannot be satisfactory for…the UK to be relying on polluting, carbon intensive 50-year-old coal-fired power stations. We need to build a new energy infrastructure fit for the 21st century. Our determination to cut carbon emissions as cost effectively as possible is crystal clear and this step will make us one of the first developed countries to commit to taking coal off our system.”

The initial response to this proposal was positive. Nick Mabey, chief executive of think tank E3G, said that ’it is significant that the country that led the industrial revolution is the first major economy to set a date for the phase out of unabated coal’. A total removal of coal from the UK’s energy landscape would contribute greatly towards achieving both the UK’s commitments in the Paris Agreement, and the emission reduction targets obligated by the UK Climate Change Act 2008.

However, this positivity was mitigated by several factors. First, Rudd emphasized that gas would be prioritized as the replacement energy source: a move Friends of the Earth described as “like an alcoholic switching from two bottles of whiskey a day to two bottles of port”. Although gas is less emission-intensive compared to coal, it is still a finite, fossil fuel-based resource that releases a considerable amount of emissions—an amount that is incompatible with achieving the UK’s long-term emission reduction targets. Second, the speech—and existing government policy— does not contain support for renewables as a method of ‘filling the gap’ that removing coal will open up. Indeed, much governmental policy has worked against renewables: the feed-in tariff for small scale solar installations was cut by 87%, financial aid was removed for new onshore wind farms and energy efficiency projects, and the Green Investment Bank (that funds projects contributing to the decarbonization of the UK’s economy) is in the process of being sold off. Paul Ekins, Co-Director of the UK Energy Research Centre, questioned, “who will invest in the new gas-fired power stations the government wants to replace coal, after its U-turns on renewables have left so many investors who believed past government policy out of pocket?”

Though Rudd’s proposal was headline-grabbing, evidence suggests that it is not as revolutionary as it first appeared. Coal usage in the UK has been declining for decades—and rapidly so in the past 5 years. Usage dropped 41% in 3 years from 2013 to 2015, with a huge drop of 22% between 2014 and 2015—which was the largest-ever annual reduction in coal usage not including from the miner’s strikes. As a share of the UK’s energy landscape, coal decreased from 29.7% in 2014 to 22.6% in 2015—whilst gas and nuclear remained roughly the same, but renewables gained 6%: eating up most of the capacity coal had dealt with. The UK’s coal consumption is now at its lowest levels since the start of the industrial revolution, and this is due to several factors. The central of these is the recent pre-planned closures of coal power stations that have reached the end of their workable lifespan. In 2016 alone 8 gigawatts of coal capacity (half of the UK’s remaining capacity) was closed. Second, Drax, the UK’s largest coal plant, switched to burning wood pellets instead. Third, the profitability of coal plants has plummeted due to falling wholesale electricity prices, the rising UK carbon floor price, and the cheapening of renewable alternatives. Overall, this points to the conclusion that coal was—due to ageing infrastructure and market forces—already being phased out at a rapid rate without the need for Rudd’s statement of intent. And though such a statement is always welcome for environmentalists, the clauses that Rudd included in her proposal mitigate the potential benefits that the policy could have had, and will ensure that while emissions are greatly reduced in the short-term, the UK’s long-term emission reduction targets will be wholly missed.

Learn More

Turkey Emission Reduction Policy

Government Regulation on Monitoring of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Even though Turkey has been trying to take responsibility for the fight against climate change, there has not yet been any significant policy adopted and implemented by the Government to decrease GHG emissions. The reasons might be the lack of local data and information to start a policy dialogue between the actors.  For this reason, in 2012 the Government issued the Regulation and Monitoring of Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The purpose of this Regulation is to set forth the principles and procedures for monitoring and reporting emission levels from businesses and government enterprises. Some of the facilities subject to the Regulation are as follows:

Oil refineries;
Facilities with thermal power equal to or higher than 20 MW (except for hazardous and domestic waste incineration facilities);
Certain steel and iron production facilities;
Clinker facilities with a daily capacity of 500 tons and above or revolving furnaces with a daily capacity of 50 tons and above; and
Facilities producing paper, paperboard or cartons with a daily capacity of 20 tons and above.

Within the scope of this regulation, these types of facilities are subject to monitoring, reporting and verification processes every year. These monitoring and verification activities may stimulate the establishment of a mandatory carbon market in Turkey. Turkey’s Energy Efficiency Strategy Document 2012-2023 includes actions to be taken related to setting up a carbon trading system.

Learn More

Thailand Emission Reduction Policy

Low-Carbon Green Growth Policies  

Low carbon green growth policies are currently in use in various Thai government programs. Thailand will be able to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions if the government can scale-up the use of these policies. There are several ways in which green low-carbon growth policies are significant for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. First, low-carbon green growth policies help in the facilitation of infrastructures that are carbon-free. This ensures sustainable economic development in the long-run. Second, the low-carbon green growth policies, if scaled-up, can be an appropriate solution in terms of improving the country’s energy efficiency and providing viable technologies that will help to curb vast amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, the transportation sector in Thailand generates a major proportion of greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas including in cities like Bangkok. If a scaled-up and low-carbon green growth policies are in place, around 25% of greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced in Bangkok with respect to Bangkok’s 2020 baseline. This can be achieved by: increasing fuel efficiency to meet future European Union fuel economy standards; fuel tax and road pricing policies can be implemented through increased vehicle registration fees, congestion charges and parking fees; and developing energy-efficient public transport infrastructures. Finally, the scaling-up of low-carbon green growth policies can also decrease Thailand’s large-scale greenhouse gas emissions by offering effective power generation sources that use low-carbon technologies and clean renewable energy.

Thai Government’s policymaking process includes three major steps that outlines the proposed plans for scaling-up low-carbon green growth policy. The first step is the setting up of an Inter-Ministerial Committee on green growth, which is chaired by the Prime Minister. In this step, the green growth action plans in place under the national economic and social development plan led by the NESDB should be integrated with the National Strategy for Climate Change Management led by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. This will help in mainstreaming the green low-carbon growth policy with the 11th Five Year Plan, which has been implemented by NESDB. The second step is for the national green growth policy and strategy to take a holistic approach, which looks into the most cost-effective interventions and sectors. Such a holistic approach will be required to successfully fulfill the scaling-up of low-carbon green growth policy objectives. The third step is that urban transport and it’s roles and responsibilities should be listed as a priority green growth investment sector by central and local governments. This step will ensure that both central and local governments in Thailand address urban transport issues from a green growth perspective.

Learn More

Spain Emission Reduction Policy

Basque Environmental Framework Program

The Environmental Framework Program has been in place in the Basque region since 2002. It is a manifestation of the region’s holistic way of combating climate change. The Program’s goals are to protect the region’s natural resources and limit the impact of climate change on the region.
The Environmental Framework Program seeks to address current environmental problems, and in so doing  prevent future damage caused by climate change and other environmental problems. By putting preventive measures in place, the Basque region is investing resources now but avoiding large environmental related expenditures in the future.

The Environmental Program’s approach to climate change is focused on incentivizing business and consumers to increase the production and consumption of low-carbon and renewable energy sources. However it should be noted that the Framework addresses stopping climate change as part of a holistic set of environmental goals that also include protecting, conserving and restoring natural resources, fostering and protecting the health and well being of citizens, increasing economic sustainability, and integrating environmental goals into all government policies.

A distinguishing feature of the Environmental Framework Program is that it establishes a system for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the region’s environmental policies. The Program also emphasizes research and education related to the impact of climate change on the region’s environment.

The Basque Regional Environmental Framework Program is a policy model for preventing the damaging effects of climate change that could be scaled-up for use at a national level.

Learn More

South Korea Emission Reduction Policy

First Basic Plan for Climate Change Response

On December 6, 2016, the South Korean government confirmed the country’s “ First Basic Plan for Climate Change Response,” after approval by the National Green Growth Committee’s and at a cabinet meeting led by Prime Minister (Acting President) Hwang Kyo-Ahn. The Basic Plan incorporates the goal of reducing the national greenhouse gas emission level by 37% (BAU) by 2030 in line with South Korea’s pledge to the Paris Agreement.

The Basic Plan is the first comprehensive policy that has medium and long-term strategies and specific action plans to combat climate change. The Basic Plan puts the focus for emission reduction on new market-and-technology-oriented efforts. It seeks to encourage the role and contribution of the private sector in reducing emissions. The Basic Plan also promotes the active participation of the public in climate change efforts. It establishes mechanisms that facilitate collaboration in combatting climate change between the central and local governments and public and private sectors. The Basic Plan provides consulting services to small and medium enterprises regarding the adoption of energy-saving technologies.

The Plan further states that the South Korean government will invest more in the development and utilization of clean energy across the country. It calls for the government and public enterprises to cooperate in doubling the investment of R&D for utilizing clean energy. Private enterprises will concentrate on their own businesses and the government will focus on R&D for the public sector. The Basic Plan states that the prime investment fields for clean energy technology will be in renewable energy, efficiency improvements, demand management, carbon capture, use and storage, nuclear energy, and thermoelectric power transmission and distribution.


The National Green Growth Committee is a special committee that is part of the Prime Minister’s office for the purpose of deliberating and coordinating the government’s green growth policies and collecting diverse opinions in the society. It is composed of 38 committee members, 21 civilian members from relevant fields and 17 government officers including minister of Finance and minister of Science, ICT and Future Planning.

Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-Ahn has been serving as Acting President as the process of impeachment of President Park Geun-hye was ongoing during this period of time.

Learn More;jsessionid=+Xm++b7UtdRGbzki6RsIU0p4.node10?searchBbsId1=&searchNttId1=MOSF_000000000006696&menuNo=4010100

South Africa Emission Reduction Policy

The Draft Carbon Tax Bill

The proposal for a carbon tax in South Africa was first made in 2007. After lengthy public consultation processes and debates, the National Treasury introduced the Carbon Tax Bill in 2015. The implementation of the Bill has been delayed numerous times. It was set to come into effect during 2017, but it is likely that further delays might ensue.

The Bill is designed to encourage emission-reduction activities in certain sectors, through placing a price on carbon. This price on carbon acts as a signal that incentivizes behavioral change and makes emission reduction projects more attractive. The planned carbon tax is aimed at achieving South Africa’s ambitious Paris Agreement commitments to reduce GHG emissions by 34% by 2020 and 42% by 2025.
It is anticipated that the carbon tax will come into effect in a phased manner at a marginal rate of R120 per ton CO2 emissions. Persons who conduct various activities in the manufacturing, construction, mining and transport sectors will be affected. It will likely be implemented with complementary measures, for example a reduction in the electricity levy, and carbon offsets which firms can use to reduce their carbon tax liability.

Learn More

The Carbon Tax Discussion Paper can be read at:

The Draft Carbon Tax Bill is available at:

Saudi Arabia Emission Reduction Policy

Green Saudi Company for Carbon Services

In late February 2017, Saudi Arabia established the Green Saudi Company for Carbon Services. The mission of this organization is to develop and manage carbon emission reduction programs and sustainable development mechanism projects. It also will assist in the fight against environmental pollution in accordance with regional and international agreements and protocols and local regulations. The Company, a partnership between Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) and Petroleum, Chemicals & Mining Company Limited, a subsidiary of Saudi Binladen Group, represents a step forward for Saudi Arabia in its efforts to reduce emissions and control pollution. The Company seeks to help the government achieve its goals imbedded in the Kingdom Vision 2030 Plan and the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020.

The establishment of a Company solely focused on GHG emissions is significant for several reasons.  Top senior level policy leaders represented by the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, and other agencies concerned with clean energy support this initiative. Secondly, it shows the Saudi government is intent on implementing its commitment to the Paris Agreement.

The Green Saudi Company will develop clean energy and carbon reduction projects within the framework of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It also issues and markets renewable energy certificates (RECs) for national companies with clean energy projects.

Learn More

Green Saudi Company for Carbon Services Established. 2017. Zawya. February 20. Accessed from

Green Saudi Company for Carbon Services to Focus on Emissions Reduction. 2017. Gulf News Journal. March 2. Accessed from

Taha. Sharif. 2017. Saudi Electricity Company Signs a Pact with PCMC to Reduce Carbon Emissions. Arab News. February 22. Accessed from

Russia Emission Reduction Policy

Presidential Executive Order NO 752 On the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

This 2016 Russian Presidential Order provides an action plan to reduce the volume of greenhouse gas emissions to no more than 75% of 1990 baseline emissions by 2020. Organizations with emission volume of over 50,000 tonnes of CO2 per year will be responsible for presenting reports to the government on their emissions levels. This target is consistent with Russia’s INDC pledge to the Paris Agreement.  However, to have a likely chance of limiting global temperature rise to 2°C (3.6°F) and thus prevent some of the worst impacts of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that emissions must peak in all regions by 2020. While not all countries will have to peak by this year, Russia is the fifth-largest emitter globally. It remains unclear when Russia’s emissions will peak, but from the numbers in its INDC, it appears likely to be after 2020. Without an earlier peak date, the rest of the world would have to make up the difference to maintain a likely chance of limiting warming to 2°C.

Russia hopes to develop by 2018 a national climate change adaptation strategy that addresses problems of permafrost degradation, sea level rise, increased rainfall and extreme weather events.
Currently, the Draft Russian Energy Strategy 2035 does not contain any progressive goals or objectives in regards to the obligations on decreasing GHG emissions. Rather its focus is on the relationship of the energy sector to Russia’s overall development.

Russia has yet to ratify the Paris Agreement.

Learn More

Analysis of the renewable energy development progress in Russia

Interactive map of renewable energy assets around the world with a legend in Russian:

Draft Power Strategy of Russia until 2035

Nigeria Emission Reduction Policy

National Policy on Climate Change

Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council approved and adopted a National Policy on Climate Change in 2013. The policy is the basis for national climate change laws and guide the country’s economic and social response to climate change (ICEED, 2013). The implementation of the policy aims to promote low-carbon, high-growth economic development and foster a climate-resilient society. The National Policy on Climate Change is significant as it aims to detail the comprehensive national goals, objectives and climate adaptation strategies that can/would be undertaken by the Federal, State and Local Governments as well as other relevant stakeholders including civil society, the private sector, communities, and individuals. Unfortunately, at the moment no data is available on the status of efforts to implement the National Policy.

Learn More

More information on Nigeria’s progress on climate change governance as summarized by London School of Economics and Political Science is available here:

More information on Nigeria’s climate change adaptation policy framework is available at:’s%20INDC_271115.pdf

For the objectives of the National Policy on Climate Change, see:

The news of Nigeria’s adoption of its policy on climate change is available here: