United States to propose at least 50% emission reduction by end of decade

US President Joe Biden will announce the largest emissions cuts on record in the country, as he welcomes 40 world leaders to a climate change summit on Thursday that will include Chinese Xi Jinping and Russian Vladimir Putin.

Biden will pledge to downsize the United States greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels and achieve net zero emissions by 2050, which the White House says will help create jobs in the United States.

This marks a significant acceleration in the Obama administration’s commitment to reduce emissions by 26-28% by 2025.

“The United States will not wait. The costs of the delays are too high and our nation is determined to act now, ”said a senior administration official.

“The [new target] is in line with the president’s goals of achieving zero net economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest and limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C ”, added the responsible.

The White House’s new emissions target will require sweeping changes across the economy, including transportation, the energy sector, and manufacturing.

Ahead of the summit, the Biden administration launched several new climate policies, including efforts to integrate climate-related risks into the financial system as well as clean energy tax credits as part of its $ 2 billion infrastructure bill.

Janet Yellen, the US Treasury Secretary, said in a speech Wednesday that climate change has become an “existential risk to our future economy and way of life” as she vows to try to catalyze public investment in green energies and private financing of green. technologies.

“The investment required to green our economy is huge,” Yellen said. “One estimate placed the additional investment needed at over $ 2.5 billion for the United States alone. Private capital will need to fill most of this gap. ”

Since taking office, Yellen has appointed a new climate advisor coordinate the agency’s efforts on the subject and pledged to redouble its efforts to assess and disclose climate risks, in order to facilitate more investment in the sector.

“It is believed that because we know so little about climate risk, we are hesitant in our actions – or even do nothing at all. This is completely wrong, in my opinion. This is a major problem and it must be solved now, ”she said.

Net greenhouse gas emissions in the United States totaled 5.8 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2019, down 13% from 2005, the Environmental Protection Agency reported in an official press release. The data Last week.

Diving emissions 10.3 percent in 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic reduced energy demand, according to Rhodium Group, a research firm, but forecasters believe a recovery in the economy will fuel a rebound this year.

The United States is the second largest emitter of carbon in the world after China.

Reducing emissions by 50 percent will be “possible but very difficult,” said Jason Bordoff, co-founder of Columbia Climate School. “You should be a little ambitious and use a number that forces the country to stretch.”

The United States hopes its climate target – also known as Nationally Determined Contribution, or NDC – will encourage other countries to adopt similar targets ahead of the UN’s COP26 summit in Glasgow in November.

“With the new US target for 2030, the improved targets for Japan and Canada, the earlier targets for the EU and UK, overall, the major economies accounting for more than half of the global economy will now be committed to meeting the pace of emission reductions required globally to limit warming to 1.5 C, ”said a senior administration official.

“We will bring our own NDC to the table, but we are looking for others to elevate their ambition as well,” said a senior administration official. “The United States is responsible for just under 15% of global emissions. . . That doesn’t mean we don’t have to act – we clearly do – but the rest of the world has a major role to play.

John Kerry, Biden’s climate envoy, has traveled the world to rally support from other countries, including China, where he was the first senior administration official to visit last week.

A few days before the summit, China and the United States issued a statement committing to work together on the “climate crisis”. Kerry said the two countries “have talked a lot about coal” and have also discussed the possibility of working together on renewable energy projects.

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U.S. allies, including Canada, South Korea and Japan, are also ready to announce climate goals at the summit.

Rachel Kyte, dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University, said the United States had been “extremely energetic, both at home and abroad” in promoting its climate agenda. The EU on Wednesday approved a climate law reduce emissions by 55% by 2030.

“We expect to see a number of countries tighten their targets, and that’s a good thing, it gives momentum. But there are big question marks about cooperation, ”she added, stressing that the US, EU and China should work closely together ahead of COP26.

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