France is the only country in the world that has successfully lowered greenhouse gas emissions over the past 30 years at a rate of 2% per year. The country went from getting 1% of its power from nuclear power plants to getting almost 80% from them.
Experts acknowledge that France’s nuclear build-out and emissions lowering campaigns were very expensive, and the expense only increased over time.
In order to lower global emissions 50% by 2050, countries around the world, including the United States, must take measures equally as drastic as France for an even longer period of time.
But this will be no small feat. For example, the recession in the US slowed the consumption of energy while the energy industry simultaneously discovered voluminous pockets of natural gas. This resulted in coal plants shutting down and natural gas plants, which emit 50% less CO2 as their coal counterparts, taking over. In 2009, US emissions dropped by 6.7%.
Unfortunately, that year seems to be an anomaly. In the preceding years, going back to 2000, the average CO2 reduction was less than 1% annually.