The Obama Administration has established “17% below 2005 levels by 2020” as the standard by which US carbon mitigation efforts are to be evaluated. Representatives Waxman and Markey and Senator Whitehouse wrote a letter to Barack Obama a couple of weeks ago, urging the president to:
Lay out specific steps federal agencies will take to ensure that the U.S. emissions of heat-trapping gases are reduced by at least 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, the goal you set for the nation during the 2009 United Nations Climate Conference.
Frankly, it’s a fairly random, not to mention unambitious, standard. Historical accounts of where this — and the Obama 2008 campaign’s similar target — “came from” are available, but I’ve yet to see a logical explanation, a justification, an account of the reasoning behind this target. (If you have the reasoning, please share in the comments.)