Biden announces US will aim to cut carbon emissions by as much as 52% by 2030 at virtual climate summit

Kate Sullivan and Kevin Liptak

At the White House summit, which is taking place on Thursday and Friday, Biden committed the United States to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 50%-52% below its 2005 emissions levels by 2030. While the goals are a part of the Paris climate agreement that Biden rejoined upon taking office, they are non-binding and the administration has not rolled out a plan on how the US will meet them. Officials said Biden and his team arrived at the final number in a meeting at the White House on Wednesday morning.

In an address opening the summit, Biden laid out his vision for a greener economy in which climate change is taken seriously across all sectors and results in more jobs for the blue-collar workers he has focused on throughout his career.

"That's where we're headed as a nation, and that's what we can do if we take action to build an economy that's not only more prosperous but healthier, fairer and cleaner for the entire planet," Biden said.

"These steps will set America's economy to net-zero emissions by no later than 2050," he added.


Vice President Kamala Harris, who introduced Biden at the start of the summit, pointed to the extreme weather the US has been battered by in recent years, including the wildfires in her home state of California.

"As a global community, it is imperative that we act quickly and together to confront this crisis and this will require innovation and collaboration around the world," the vice president said.

The Biden administration's target to cut emissions was struck after lengthy consultations with government agencies, scientists, industry representatives, governors, mayors and environmental researchers. The move underscores the President's commitment to addressing the climate crisis and follows on his pledge to work with other countries to find joint solutions to global issues.

When then-President Barack Obama first joined the Paris climate agreement in 2015, he pledged to cut emissions by a range -- 26% to 28% -- by 2025, making the new 50%-52% cut a major jump. A second official said the higher target would give the US "significant leverage" in convincing other countries to raise their ambitions ahead of a climate summit in Glasgow later this year.

What the President will not unveil, at least right now, is a specific road map for how the United States will reach those targets, which are being described as "economy-wide." Officials described "multiple pathways" for the US to arrive at the goal, and said the President's climate task force would release sector-by-sector recommendations later this year on achieving the necessary cuts.
Biden sought to make the case that taking steps to address the climate crisis would make economies more resilient and competitive.

"When people talk about climate, I think jobs," Biden said. "Within our climate response lies an extraordinary engine of job creation and economic opportunity ready to be fired up."
He said: "Countries that take decisive action now to create the industries of the future will be the ones that reap the economic benefits of the clean energy boom that's coming."
Several members in Biden's Cabinet are playing a role at the summit, including hosting sessions, speaking at sessions and discussing how their role or department or agency pertains to issues surrounding the climate crisis, a separate administration official said earlier this week.

The article's full-text is available here.


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