WASHINGTON – President Biden will announce Thursday that the United States intends to cut emissions to warm the planet by nearly half by the end of the decade, a goal that will require Americans to change the way they drive, heat their homes and manufacture goods.
The target, which has been confirmed by three people who have been briefed on the plan, is slated for a closely watched global summit to be held on Thursday and Friday by Mr Biden. The aim is to send a message that the United States is rejoining international efforts to combat global warming after four years of climate denial by the Trump administration.
A White House spokesman declined to comment on the U.S. target first reported by the Washington Post.
The leaders of China, India and nearly 40 other countries are expected to virtually join Mr Biden, and the United States is hoping that the announcement of its new emissions target will push other nations to improve on their own targets until the nations gather again under the auspices of the United Nations in November in Glasgow.
The new American target nearly doubles the Obama administration’s promise to cut emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, though the country would have five years left to do so, according to people familiar with the target achieve the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it. Formally known as the “Nationally Determined Contribution” under the Paris Agreement, the 2030 target will be an area that aims to reduce emissions by around 50 percent compared to 2005 levels. It won’t include detailed modeling showing how the United States is proposing to deliver on its promise, a government official said.
The goal is broadly in line with what environmental groups and big corporations like McDonalds, Target and Google have been aiming for. She and others argued that cutting emissions by at least 50 percent from 2005 levels by the end of the decade is the only way to get the United States on a path to reducing fossil fuel pollution by mid-century remove.
On Tuesday, Gina McCarthy, Mr Biden’s top adviser on climate change, hinted that the United States would set that ambitious goal.
“I would argue that we have the opportunity to be very aggressive and we will take this opportunity,” she said in an interview with NPR
However, it will be a major challenge to face this.
Nathan Hultman, director of the Center for Global Sustainability at the University of Maryland, and other energy experts said that the 50 percent target was achievable, but only with what Mr. Hultman called “fairly significant progress in all sectors of the American economy.”
The credibility of Mr Biden’s promise rests on his ability to take a number of aggressive new domestic policies aimed at greatly reducing emissions, particularly from the country’s two largest sources of greenhouse gas pollution, automobiles and power plants.
Ms. McCarthy is working with the heads of the Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department to work out new regulations for chimneys and car tailpipes that could be published by the summer.
However, other countries remain skeptical about the durability of such rules based on their experience with the Trump administration. As the head of the Obama administration’s environmental protection agency, Ms. McCarthy wrote similar rules only to see they were wiped out.
“The most important thing in anything they do is make sure it’s permanent,” said Michael Oppenheimer, professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University. “We really have to show in a very tangible way that the details cannot be quickly undone, and we haven’t.”
The government is also trying to get a $ 2.3 trillion infrastructure package through Congress that includes plans for high spending on projects like charging stations for electric vehicles and expanding transmission lines for wind and solar power.
Many Democrats are hoping the plan will include a mandate that requires energy companies to generate a percentage of their electricity from wind and solar in order to legislate a fossil fuel transition that could not be reversed by a future president.
The prospects for this plan to be passed in Congress, however, remain unclear. Some Republicans have offered tentative support for a compromise infrastructure bill that includes more traditional projects like highways and bridges but leaves out the climate regulations.
That would give Mr Biden a bipartisan victory on an important domestic policy, but it would leave the United States without a permanent, irreversible climate law.