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April 3, 2015

As part of a United Nations (UN) global climate change treaty anticipated to be finalized in December 2015, President Barack Obama’s administration announced on March 31 a pledge that the U.S. will reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases by as much as 28%. It is not yet clear how the administration intends to follow through on that pledge. 

Analyst Comment: Pinkerton anticipated that the pledge would include the current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules requiring all coal-fired power plants reduce their sulfur and carbon dioxide emissions or face closure. However, the coal mining and energy production industries likely will not be alone. Pinkerton finds it likely that the pledged emissions cut would serve to justify increased restrictions on petroleum refining, plastics manufacturing, and other industrial sectors. Additionally, the pledge likely will serve to push large-scale development of renewable energy sources. The net effect for manufacturing and industry, however, likely will produce increasing regulations and restrictions that could require significant technology upgrades, at a rate not easily accomplished by all companies affected. 

Prepared by: Victoria Allen, the United States  

Greenhouse Gas Emissions
UN Treaty