May 9, 2021
President Biden pledged to slash U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at least in half by the end of the decade, according to a April 20, 2021 report from The Washington Post, as part of an aggressive push to combat climate change at home and persuade other major economies around the world to follow suit.
The move comes as Biden convenes a virtual summit of more than three dozen world leaders Thursday, aimed at ratcheting up international climate ambitions and reestablishing the United States as a leader in the effort to slow the planet’s warming.
The planned U.S. pledge represents a near-doubling of the target that the nation committed to under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, when Barack Obama vowed to cut emissions by 26 to 28 percent compared with 2005 levels.
Asked for comment, a White House official said a final decision had not been made.
The Paris accord, which President Donald Trump exited but Biden promptly rejoined, was designed with the expectation that countries would embrace bigger, bolder targets over time.
“The Biden-Harris administration will do more than any in history to meet our climate crisis,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a speech Monday. “This is already an all-hands-on-deck effort across our government and across our nation. Our future depends on the choices we make today.”
The administration is likely to first offer broad strokes rather than a detailed breakdown of how it will meet the more ambitious target, according to the people briefed on the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plan had not been formally announced. Officials are considering a target range, they added, that could go above 50 percent at the higher end.
Still, the new pledge will offer the latest glimpse at the profound changes that Biden wants to set in motion, from decarbonizing the country’s energy sector to phasing out gasoline-powered vehicles. Administration officials have made clear that they see the effort not only as a climate pursuit but as a massive investment in a new generation of jobs nationwide.
“We’re going to do it in a way that’s very deliberate,” White House domestic climate adviser Gina McCarthy told reporters Monday in a call organized by the World Resources Institute. The administration wants to transition to a cleaner economy with good-paying occupations in communities that have been hit hardest by unemployment and underinvestment, she said. “It’s intended to meet the moment we are in.”
The forthcoming pledge also is meant to serve as a marker for the kind of scope — and urgency — that the Biden administration wants other countries to embrace ahead of a critical United Nations climate gathering this fall in Scotland.
Some nations, including those that are part of the European Union, already have locked in more aggressive emissions-cutting targets. The United Kingdom on Tuesday announced a commitment to reducing its emissions by 78 percent by 2035, compared with 1990 levels — a goal the government said would take the nation more than three-quarters of the way toward reaching net zero by 2050.
What this means to you
President Biden pledged to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least half by the end of the decade, nearly doubling the target set under the 2015 Paris climate agreement when Barack Obama vowed to cut emissions by 26-28 percent compared to 2005 levels.
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