Emissions targets do little to limit the rate of climate change, and do nothing at all without tough measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions. The United States has often been criticized because of its reluctance to impose any limits which might threaten fossil fuel industries. Because the U.S. is a major producer of oil and coal, many people incorrectly pit climate against economy, believing that working to ensure the planet’s well being will restrict profits and the free market. James Hansen, one of the world’s most respected climate scientists, loudly criticized the G8 summit’s pledge to halve global warming emissions by 2050 calling the commitment “worse than worthless.” Representatives from the wealthiest nations in the world have made commitments like this before, but even at the recent summit failed to make any pledge for action in the next decade, or any action at all against coal.
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