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Thursday, May 6, 2021
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U.S. pledges to halve its emissions by 2030 as Biden opens climate summit

The Biden administration on Thursday (April 22) pledged to slash U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 50%-52% from 2005 levels by 2030, a new target it hopes will spur other big emitter countries to raise their ambition to combat climate change.

The goal, unveiled at the start of a two-day climate summit hosted by Democratic President Joe Biden, comes as the United States seeks to reclaim global leadership in the fight against global warming after former President Donald Trump withdrew the country from international efforts to cut emissions.

It also marks an important milestone in Biden’s broader plan to decarbonize the U.S. economy entirely by 2050 – an agenda he says can create millions of good-paying jobs but which many Republicans say they fear will damage the economy.

The emissions cuts are expected to come from power plants, automobiles, and other sectors across the economy, but the White House did not set individual targets for those industries.

“This is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis,” Biden said at the White House.

The new U.S. target nearly doubles former President Barack Obama’s pledge of an emissions cut of 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Sector-specific goals will be laid out later this year.

The Biden administration has come under heavy pressure from environmental groups, some corporate leaders, the UN secretary general and foreign governments to set a target to cut emissions by at least 50% this decade to encourage other countries to set their own ambitious emissions goals.

Biden announced the number at the start of a climate summit on Thursday that will be attended by leaders from the world’s biggest emitters, including China.

World leaders aim to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a threshold scientists say can prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

(Production: Kristin Neubauer)

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