Saving the Planet
In the first big study of the impact of the recession on climate change, the IEA found that CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels had undergone "a significant decline" this year — further than in any year in the last 40.
....Falling industrial output is largely responsible for the plunge in CO2 , but [...] for the first time, government policies to cut emissions have also had a significant impact. The IEA estimates that about a quarter of the reduction is the result of regulation, an "unprecedented" proportion. Three initiatives had a particular effect: Europe's target to cut emissions by 20 per cent by 2020; US car emission standards; and China's energy efficiency policies.
Europe's cap-and-trade system didn't start out very strongly, but the fact is that nobody really expected it to. Phase 2, however, is working better, and Phase 3 will be better still. If we learn from their experience, we can avoid the early stumbles and put in place a decent (and steadily improving) program right out of the gate. Ten years ago would have been a good time to start, but failing that, this year will have to do.