US surprises summit with bold emissions target. The US has pledged to cut carbon emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by the end of this decade.
The US has vowed to cut its planet-heating emissions by at least half by the end of the decade, in a ramping up of ambition aimed at rallying other countries to do more to confront the climate crisis.
Ahead of a virtual gathering of dozens of world leaders in a climate summit called by Joe Biden, which begins on Thursday, the White House said the US will aim to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by between 50% and 52% by 2030, based on 2005 levels.
This new target, to be formally submitted to the United Nations, represents a stark break from the climate denialist presidency of Donald Trump and will “unmistakably communicate that the United States is back”, according to a White House official who was briefed on the emissions goal. “The United States isn’t going to wait, the costs of delay are too great and our nation is resolved to act right now,” the administration official added.
The US is scrambling to regain international credibility after Trump pulled the country out of the Paris climate agreement. But the Biden administration said it has already helped secure improved emissions reductions from Canada, Argentina and Japan, meaning that, along with new pledges by countries such as the UK, governments that oversee half of the global economy have targets consistent with stopping the planet’s average temperature from rising above 1.5C, a key Paris goal to avoid disastrous climate impacts.
China, the world’s largest carbon polluter, has expressed some skepticism over the US’ return to the climate fold, but the country’s president, Xi Jinping, will attend Biden’s Earth Day climate summit and the White House is confident America retains its clout. “This new target gives us significant leverage to push for climate action abroad,” said the White House official. “Every ton of reductions achieved in the United States has multiplier effect in inspiring climate action overseas.”